“Now you’re thinking like an Amberite”
Zurehn awakes to an earthquake, everything is tilting sideways, and there’s plenty of running and screaming.
The evacuation plan amounts to “Captains and Children first”, but they are all peons; so Zurehn hijacks a car at shiv and gun-point.
He instructs the driver to go downhill, so he can investigate. Because he’s crazy but gets things fixed.
The driver, ‘Billy’, drives full speed downhill, pointing out that we’re below sea level, as in the distance the sea can be seen rushing in over cracked and ravaged ground.
With limited time, Zurehn releases his last teleport to bring the whole car back to Stoke.
The farmhouse kitchen, to be precise.
There are no chickens, but Farmer Bob gets covered in breakfast. “Stag Do?”
The farm is also tilting sideways and the roof is giving way, so Fiona is called in, and they helldrive out.
Billy and Bob are deposited in an Inn near Amber docks, with enough money to last a month if they can avoid being robbed or conned in the first day. Zurehn does put in a word with the innkeeper and promise to take them home, or somewhere like home.
Fiona brings Zurehn up to date on the situation over breakfast and lunch, and suggests books in the library for magic ideas.
Then she suggests he take a holiday and re-hang his spells.
If I should take a notion, to walk right into the ocean
Aron makes a trip to Rebma, to swim with the dolphins and talk to Llewella.
She confirms some of his suspicions about Benedict and the King
“Some powers skip a generation is a politeness… you are very much your father’s son”
and answered some questions about power rune tattoos (no, you can’t break this one and put it back together and expect it to work again)
At some point a shark shows up to watch, and Llewella sees it off… It seemed rude to ask which family member it was.
After a day or two, Aron returned to the surface and head out toward Arden.
Zurehn’s idea of a holiday is to go drinking with Random.
Fortunately, he’s still in a beer-hall with Phil’s Prussians.
Singing and fun is interrupted when Random received a trump call from Mireille in chains
Something’s happening in Begma that he needs to look into.
(Obviously a trap. But with his sister hostage, there’s no choice.)
They trump through to Julian in Arden because it’s closer to the golden circle.
Jewels in Begma
On arrival, we visit a salon to find out what’s happening.
Random has brandy and cigars with the bankers who carry jewelled rapiers, learning of visitors that come and go from the palace but aren’t seen to stay anywhere in the city.
Aron is sent for emergency tailoring – ruffled shirts were last years fashion, but a disaster now. Apparently the fashion was started to cover a mark on the neck of somebody at the palace, and now open necks are the fashion to show you are not a criminal.
Zurehn gambles with the “bodyguards” in the salon, and makes the acquaintance of Porthos.
Porthos offers to get us into the palace, “adventure awaits in the night”.
Duels in Begma
“Duelling is banned in the city, so we’ll make this quick”
Our path is blocked by four bravos looking for a fight.
Four of them, four of us, so one on one fights.
Random seemed to struggle a bit, perhaps his mind is on other things, or the broken ankle wasn’t quite recovered yet. Nevertheless, he is the first to draw blood and his opponent yields.
Porthos is efficient and brutal, skewering his opponent after a few exchanges. This time, Random desires that the loser should survive.
Aron disarms his opponent, and offers the yield, allowing his opponent to leave unharmed.
Zurehn insists that “there is no honour here”, but as he is wearing a sword, he is not permitted to refuse. He swears at his opponent, and takes advantage of a stumble on loose footing to touch the shoulder and cut the forearm.
In the castle, Porthos dons the cloak of a king’s guard and leaves us.
The mysterious visitors are not about, and we don’t have clearance for the important parts of the palace, so we take up lodgings in a nearby hotel.
((summary: the elder brother of the Kashfan king is killed, and arranged for the body to be found in a Begman brothel.))
In the expectation that whatever trouble Osric left us may catch up in the night, Aron stays awake to keep watch. Around midnight there is noisy arguing from the next room.
“Bastardo”, “Dos Madres” etc.
Random needs his beauty sleep, so Aron wakes Zurehn for a second opinion.
Mid complaint about being woken for no good reason, we hear a crash of broken glass – somebody has been thrown out the window and split their skull on the courtyard flagstones.
First Zurehn investigates below, over the protests of the night porter, who insists he should be the one to call the guards; then after Aron wakes random he jumps down as well.
Random beats up the heavy in the courtyard who was supposed to move the body, and says “you want it gone, it’s gone” – trumping himself and the body back to Amber.
Flora identified the body as the Kashfan king’s elder brother, and that he officially renounced the throne, but it wasn’t really like that.
Caine is impressed that you can hardly see the second head injury on the body.
While this is going on, Zurehn corners a woman in the room, while Aron is investigating from the balcony.
She stabs at Zurehn when he blocked her path, but the dagger is blocked by the armor worn under his clothing.
While cagey, she keeps saying “he was a very bad man”, “this must not have happened”, and “I need to be away from here tonight”. Eventually she offers the name “Jacquelina”, which was obviously made up on the spot.
At the appointed time, Zurehn recalls Random with trump, and she recognises him.
He also recognised her, but did not share the real name.
Either way, Random offers to put the plan back on track and get the body back into the cart where it ought to be.
Aron tries to shadow-walk Jacquelina back to the Eregnor border by stepping sideways and looping back. It’s easy enough to get out of Begma, but hard to get the mountains quite right when he’s never been there before.
To expedite things, they call Random in for the last hop – and he passes Aron back through a trump contact to Zurehn.
This triggers Fiona’s rune and blisters Aron’s arm, being painful to Random and Zurehn as well.
Aron: “What does it look like to you”
Zurehn: “Looks like you pissed off a sorceress”
The police search party in the morning are surprised not to find anything, but eventually find the broken window in the other room.
And we manage to move to the room with a palace view we requested.
A well dressed man buys us breakfast and takes over the whole dining room to have a private conversation.
Aron: “I try to stay out of Politics”
Random: “He’s new”
((The appropriate response was “Aron my dear, you are Politics”))
It’s implied that we’re in a diplomatic incident for interfering in the affairs of sovereign states.
However Random assures him we’re here for unrelated reasons and offers to get rid of the body once again.
(The plan here is that a Texorami brothel is equally shameful to Kashfan morals, but doesn’t put Begma in an awkward position)