Cleaning Up and Heading Out

Having collected his spear and departed the Queen's audience, Jerod makes his way through the castle at a relatively sedate pace with the news of Llewella's arrival filtering through his thoughts.

His pace is sufficiently sedate that it gives him enough time to make a decision to postpone a recently considered trip in favor of some additional needed data. To that end, he adjusts his path through the castle walkways to search out Lamell, his mother's advisor and a resident mage of some note.

Sir Lamell is not in the castle, but can easily be found in his nearby dwelling. He answers his own door and invites Jerod in. "Hello, your Grace. This is an unexpected pleasure. How may I be of service?"

"A drink perhaps?" Jerod asks. "I've recently come from an audience with the Queen. She never has anything good to drink."

Jerod will wait patiently, going through the routine of polite social niceties that Rebman culture require, even if Lamell was never one to follow them unless it suited him to do so. But after a moderate period of time, Jerod will get to the point of what brought him here.

"I have need of your skills, and of privacy while discussing them." Jerod says.

He nods as if he had expected this response. "I have many skills and I pride myself on my discretion. Tell me, young Jerod, if this is something you wish me to discreetly keep from your Mother? That will influence my choices."

"That will depend on the outcome during the use of your skills." Jerod replies. "I find it probable that in the not too distant future, I will become the center of attention with regards to this situation but nothing detrimental to others. Or even myself for that matter. I am merely...curious as to something."

Assuming Lamell agrees, Jerod pulls the pouch from under his cloak and places it on a table.

"I know where I found these. I need to know what they are and what they do."

Lamell nods absently and looks at the bag. "May I?," Lamell asks. He opens it.

"A mirror and a gong. They reflect light and turn force into sound, respectively. Each has natural affinities with certain magics related to their mundane purposes. They do not seem to be related.

"My best guess would be that if they are for distance communications. The mirror, if it is typical of magical mirrors, is a way of seeing and perhaps talking at a distance. It is too small for transport. The gong would be for summoning someone. There are several ways to implement that.

"I can test these, but there is risk. And it will take time.

"I'll do a better job for you if I know where you found these and what you think they are and what they might do."

"They were found in my aunt's townhouse." Jerod replies. "I am reasonably certain they are for use with mirror magic, though for what specific purpose I am uncertain. They do not strongly radiate magic, at least of the kind I have recently become accustomed to sensing. What I am certain of is that I got four ribs broken over them so they'd better be worth something.

"How long will your testing take. What are the risks? And what or who would likely be summoned via the gong?"

"The risks are unexpectedly gaining the attention of whatever it is that might be listening. I can think of half a dozen things a magical gong could do, from fetching a demon to ringing another gong elsewhere.

He looks at it. "It may do nothing if not struck at the right time, or in the right place. It may need to be struck in front of the mirror for the sound to be reflected elsewhere.

"The key here is that I need to see what I can do carefully. We could just set up the mirror and bang on the gong right away, but you want circumspection, which is probably smart. It will take me a few days to find reasonable answers by magic.

"I can keep them safe from magical detection by others, but I would be in a bad place if someone were to discover them or news that I had them. You are asking quite a bit of me, you know."

"I could always ask you for another orca lesson." Jerod says with a smile, reminding Lamell of the incident long ago as a boy with the sharks. "Either way, I would be asking a lot. I am aware of what I'm asking, just as I'm sure you know I won't bore you with any tawdry speech about the honour of serving for Queen and Kingdom.

"I am my mother's son, and my father. They taught me to remember that loyalty buys loyalty, and it is the only coin that I barter with. If that is sufficient, then I would ask that you continue, carefully and at your discretion in this investigation. If not, then we depart without a word of this."

"Your word is good," Lamell replies, nodding. "When I know something, how will I let you know? Will you still be staying in the castle, or do you want to leave a talisman so I can conjure you a message?"

"I have a sense I must be travelling, to the Seaward. With Llewella's arrival, everyone will be up and about and an opportunity may present itself to move about without too much notice. I am not sure how long I will be away but I am hoping for no more than a week.

"I assume that something personal is required for the messaging?" Jerod asks, waiting for Lamell's response.

He nods [and, if Jerod offers something, takes it.]

Jerod has a small pouch with half of a gold coin inside. He offers that.

"If you cannot reach me after a week, or if continued investigation places you at risk, seal the items in a container and give them to Droit. Tell him that I gave you the container and that it is the official property of the King of Amber and Xanadu and it is only to be opened or touched either by the King himself, or by his personal representative, namely me. No one is to assume custody or even try to transport the container without the required approvals. That would keep it out of circulation for a few days at least."

"Be careful in the Seaward, Prince Jerod. The people there are more parochial, and not used to independent men. This does not mean they are stupid, but they can be stubborn."

"About what I would expect." Jerod says with a smile. "We'll see if your lessons in etiquette and tact actually got through with me. Besides, if I find what I'm looking for, I have a feeling the independent part will be expected. We'll see."

Lamell wishes Jerod well.

Following his departure from Lamell's abode, Jerod makes his way to the embassy of Amber, where he has two things to do.

The first, very summarily, is to inquire after Droit's progress in arranging a contact with the ambassador of Paris.

The second, once that first part is done, is to acquire a quiet office for a short while - Jerod has business to attend to and a need for privacy. Once alone he pulls out his trump deck, sifting through the cards until he finds the straw-haired jester that was Random.

He looks down at the card sitting on the desk. "Who helped you, majesty?" Jerod asks himself. "Who helped you get onto the Pattern when you tried to kill dad? Who made it easy for you, I wonder?" and he picks up the card. "Time to find out...

"'s Jerod."

Random's face appears, with a wooden backdrop of some sort. The light is dim. "So it is! This is an unexpected pleasure. What can I do for you? You know those things are only mostly waterproof, right?"

"Dad took special care with this set. It has lasted quite a while down here. My congratulations to you in any respect Uncle. Word has been received of your success in building a new family bug zapper. Let us hope it works at least as well as the previous model." Jerod replies. "And your new kingdom of Xanadu. I do hope it's not all like the book."

Jerod pauses a moment before proceeding, so should Random deem it appropriate to reply, he has time to do so. "I have need of the past. A couple of pieces of information from days long past that might help me with the current situation, here and in Amber.

"I'm sure you'll remember the day you popped back into Amber after your marriage to Vialle and tried to put a bolt through Dad. I've always been very curious as to how you managed to get onto the Pattern in the first place given how well Moire guards it. I know how Martin did it, of course. But for you, one might almost think you had inside help." Jerod says, pausing for a moment. "Or official sanction.

"I may have a need to get onto the Pattern, in case things do not go well. Escape route and all that. I need to know how you did it. I need to know who helped you. And why."

"Do you? It seems to me that you've got a less dangerous escape route in your hands as we speak. While it doesn't give you the near-infinite options that the Pattern does, it also doesn't require you to be vulnerable to an attack while undergoing the toughest ordeal of your life.

"Imagine a triton swimming in the chamber, above the pattern, and coming at you with a Jerod-smacking club, and you can't stop moving slowly off his starboard bow.

"I think that as an escape route, the Pattern is a suck plan."

"It all depends on how you define escape Uncle." Jerod says. "I've already had a triton decide to come and break some of my ribs. The trumps would not have helped then. We both know in those immediate circumstances, neither tool will be any good. And if we decide to discuss worse case scenarios as the accepted norm, I might as well walk out and not come back. Care to take a wager on whether that will happen?

"There are other elements involved with knowing how to get into the Pattern room that may be useful down here. And that brings me back to my original question. How did you get onto it and who might have helped you?"

"What if I need that secret again and I've spilled it to you and it came out? What if someone else could get into trouble over it and I don't want that? What if I told someone I wouldn't blab?

"I'm not interested in giving this up for your idle curiosity, Jerod. If you need it, tell me why. If you just want it, not good enough. The escape route story isn't doing the job. Taking the Pattern isn't a casual stroll in the basement."

"No it isn't uncle, nor do I treat it as such." Jerod says. "Most people may not value my life but I still do. The escape route is one of the reasons why I want the information, simply because it may become useful and I do foresee a time when I might need it.

"But enough of that. To other reasons. Have you never wondered why Rebma is still standing if in fact it is supposed to be just a reflection of Amber? Why isn't it cracked and broken? I've seen enough here to believe that it's not a reflection and never was. It's got its own little history connected through Moins for sure but probably relating to unknown family members long hidden or dead. I'm guessing the creator of this one isn't dead. So the question now to ask is who drew it and where are they? Because if they were dead Rebma should be too.

"But you say, so what? Indeed, so what, except that everyone and their uncle who is family is suddenly coming out of the wood work and family we don't know about from Rebma could be very bad. Your coronation was evidence of some of the problems we could have.

"Stuff is building down here. It's gathering force in a direction that I don't like and if it continues, I've got a feeling a lot of people are going to end up dead. I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean zip to anyone at your end of the universe, but I'm dumb. I like some of these people. My younger sister included who has managed to go missing under circumstances that appear vaguely connected to something that describes the founding of Rebma.

"Finally we add the Tritons into the mix. There's something about them and Rebma's Pattern. They're at the centre of everything down here. I was down here one day and I had one whacking at me.

"So, I figure it's time to take a walk. Once I've been on it and gone through it, I can try tracking down who drew it." Jerod says. "That hopefully will give me a connection to something that might tell me where my sister is. It tells me more about where we're all going with our new Patterns. I've got a feeling it's going to tell me about the Tritons. And I suspect a whole lot more, especially about Moire and Moins.

"If that's not enough Uncle, then you let me know so I can get going. I've got a lot to do to find out what's up, and I don't think I've got much time left."

"Jerod. OK, look. Two things. First, next time skip right past the lame excuse. You're not a good enough poker player for it. Two, you can't use my connections because you're not married to my wife, OK? Clear?"

Jerod nods. "Then I wish you well with your new kingdom Majesty. Say hi to Martin for me. Tell him that if I make it back we'll do dinner. There's a place in Budapest that's nice...if it's still around."

"Um, sure. Ah, Jerod? I'm probably supposed to be all mysterious about this, but I've got a headache. The multiple patterns thing? It's a dead end. I'm pretty sure of it."

And with that, Jerod will close the trump call. There are other things to do.

After finishing the trump call, Jerod decides against a trip to the Seaward and instead remains in the city for a time to investigate further what might be going on with his sister. Such an investigation will begin with an examination of both her office and her quarters, followed by a follow-up in Court to determine who Loreena has been speaking with of late.

Speaking to the various individuals will take some time and Jerod will try to make sure that such opportunities are done in social situations where people are relatively at ease. He will not be making it known that he is conducting an investigation but rather it will seem that he is merely catching up on affairs of Court, getting up to speed as it were. He is prepared to endure the more monotonous of social endeavours, including invitations to other social outings, if the lead proves promising. He will of course politely decline any extended invitations of the "sleep over" variety, though if possible he'll turn the moment into a "well, maybe later" type of refusal if the other side has suitably valuable information, and provides it up front.

Oh, and while he's at it, he keeps an eye out to see who's watching his movements.

Any new factor at court is of interest to many people. No one seems to have special interest in him.

About two days after he sees Lamell, Jerod receives a messenger. She says that her message came from Duchess Loreena and that she was instructed to deliver it to him personally. The message is that she had to leave Rebma unexpectedly for the Seaward and that she apologizes for missing dinner. She will see you when she returns.

It's a reasonable message, but it's certainly short on specifics.

It's also reasonable enough if someone knows he's looking to see if he'll stop.

He will question the messenger on where she received the message, from whom, was payment made and how? Also why was the message delayed this long?

The messenger doesn't know, she's just a runner. She wasn't in the office when it came in, but it was supposed to be delayed. She can tell because it came in about a day before it was supposed to be delivered. She doesn't know anything else about it.

Then Jerod will head over to the office that she refers to and see if anything can be found there.

There's a woman behind the counter, barely more than a girl. She looks up as he enters and looks him over. "May I help you?" she asks.

And in a matriarchical society, that leaves layers that Jerod knows better than to try to figure out...:)

"Yes, I'm wondering if you can help me." Jerod says. "I received a message that was supposed to be from my sister, the Duchess Loreena. It was received only today and there is some concern as to her whereabouts. I was hoping you might be able to provide some information as to when the message was received and who actually provided the information for the message."

"Of course, my Lord. I took that message myself. Her servant dictated it to me and I gave it to our girl to take up the hill. We normally charge extra for delayed delivery, but since it was for the Duchess, of course we complied with her wishes."

"Was the Duchess with her servant at the time the message was provided." Jerod asks. "And please describe her servant for me."

Jerod wishes to verify if in fact this was anyone of Loreena's servants, her secretary, or anyone else who might have been assigned to her.

"The Duchess was outside. I saw her there, but she didn't come in. The message and the instructions came from her woman." She describes Loreena's secretary.

Jerod nods. "Then I thank you for your assistance." he says, before departing.

A few more days are still required for the results from Lamell's tests, assuming he completes them, and survives, and doesn't tell anyone else about what he finds out - so Jerod takes the opportunity during this period to catch up with a few of the Coldstream guards who know about his grandfather and follow the lines there to see what more they can tell him.

Assuming all goes well with Lamell, the day that Jerod is scheduled to receive the information, he will send a message to the Queen through her secretary, indicating that per their recent conversation he will be travelling to Gateway to find out a few more things concerning his grandfather and that he would be happy to carry any message that she would wish to provide.

Then he's off to see Lamell.

(and if Lamell is dead, incapacitated or otherwise unavailable, we'll re-write).

Lamell greets Jerod and brings him into his workroom.

"Ah, your Grace. Someone has been probing for your mirror and gong. I was able to stop them, but not to trace them. It is, as we expected, a communications tool. The gong struck yestermorning. I blocked the mirror from showing my rooms, shortly afterwards.

"We could try the same thing, but there is great risk. It is likely to create a two-way visual and possibly aural connection."

"Can a glamour of some kind be used to hide the identity of the individual on the receiving end here?" Jerod asks. "Also, what kind of physical risks are involved?"

"Maybe, depending on the power of the sorcerer on the far end. Do you have something in mind? You'll have to make eye contact through the mirror, and if the people on the other end know your mind, it may not matter what we do to your visage.

"The real risk is exposure, but there is some possibility that something could come through the link."

He hesitates. "Do you want to try it?"

"No. There is little in the way of benefit to be had and I have put enough risk in your lap for one day." Jerod says, collecting the pieces and placing them into the small leather bag.

"I'll see about arranging their return shortly. In the meantime, be careful in case whoever was looking around decides to come back." he says.

With that, Jerod will depart. He will now await the response to his message to the Queen.

The response is simple. A sealed pouch for Ambassador Milla, and a handwritten note asking Jerod when he will be back.

Jerod will reply that he will be uncertain as to his return, though he will try to be back as soon as he can. He will mention that he needs to report back to King Random, and that as a side trip he will probably stop to see Corwin as well, who was curious as to certain things concerning his new offspring.

Jerod will also make sure to spend a little time prior to departure with Carina, making sure that she is aware that he will be departing for a little while. Assuming that she asks after his plans, he indicates that some information concerning his grandfather can be acquired from Gateway and that the Queen has a message that she wants delivered. Also he wants to report back on a few things to Random that he had agreed upon so that will happen to probably, though after Gateway.

As per their departing ritual, used constantly now for some odd twenty years, Jerod will smile and offer to take her with him, remarking that she has not had a vacation in "how long?" and his business is very simple and all the places that they could visit. She will reply that her duties are considerable (which they are) and she regrets she cannot afford to take the time off but she hopes next time. At which time Jerod will smile and say that he will then make sure to come back as soon as he can. He is not eager to depart when near her and she knows this, but regrettably there are things that need looking into.

Having said his goodbyes to family and one friend in particular, Jerod will collect his few things that he wishes to take with him on this trip before setting out to Amber's embassy. He needs a place for a little privacy.

Once there, he very quickly checks in with Droit, advising that he will be seeing Random in the near future and does the ambassador have anything to relay? He also requires a private office for a period of time.

Droit has the usual loyal stolid bureaucrat sorts of things to tell Random, and, if Jerod can take it, a diplomatic pouch for the king.

Jerod will agree and accepts the pouch.

Jerod will wait a short time if Droit has anything he wishes to report in or say but once that time has passed he will retire to the office and pull out his trump deck, sifting out the card for Corwin and beginning to concentrate.

" is Jerod."

The image forms. Corwin is somewhere outside in the city. "Bide," he says, and finds a quiet corner. "Jerod. What can I do for you?"

"A lift to your city if it's not too much bother." Jerod says. "In exchange for an update on what's been happening here. I'm on my way out of town, officially on the Queen's business but I'd rather ditch any physical surveillance early on."

"Come to me, then," says Corwin, and he extends his hand to Jerod. "Unless you'd rather wait for me to return to the Castle."

Jerod accepts the hand and steps through. He is wearing his regular colours, clothing more visually suited for surface travel but still with the fluid cut for moving underwater. He will change them once he's had a chance. He has with him Moire's message and Droit's pouch on his belt, his small little "token" that was acquired from Llewella's apartment also in its pouch (he knows how he's going to return that, he just needs a few days to set that up), and his grandfather's spear.

[Clarification: A diplomatic pouch is a little larger than that, especially since the messages in it are written on paper larger than 8 1/2" x 14" or A4. Jerod is probably carrying something closer to the size of a messenger bag or a briefcase to hold both Droit's pouch and the items he got from Llewella.]

He is also wearing the necklace that he first wore on his trip to Rebma.

"Many thanks Uncle." Jerod says once they have come through, taking a look around to get his bearings. "I trust all is well?"

"Well, and busy," Corwin replies. He is dressed in garb appropriate for the Paris of the period from Shadow Earth that Jerod remembers: a morning suit in greys of various shades that resolve into blacks and silvers in the sunlight.

They are standing in an alley off one of Paris' streets; the happy noise and hubbub that Jerod expects in a city at the heart of Reality fills Jerod's ears. The scent of fresh-baked bread wafts by his nostrils, and he can see bright colors moving by the street end of the alley.

Jerod hefts the messenger pouch over his shoulder, taking a long moment to listen and absorb the background noises. As always, the shift of transitions from one world to the other reminds him of what has been missed, though neither world would be chosen over the other.

At least, not at the moment.

He sniffs at the smell of bread, making note of the freshly baked bread with a light crust, the aroma wafting through the air. The brain provides the requisite scent of butter to go with the bread even if the butter is nowhere to be found. Such is the wonder of memory.

Corwin eyes the spear speculatively. "I see you've gained a souvenir since last we met."

Jerod nods. "Yes, a gift from my mother. A bit more appropriate for the underwater world, though it will work equally well up here too. She decided it would be more suitable for me, given that dad's sword disappeared after my run-in with that Triton." Jerod does not hide his displeasure at losing the sword. If Corwin appears interested, which would seem to be the case, Jerod will offer to the let him take a closer look at it.

Corwin takes the spear and and examines it as Jerod speaks. He tests the sharpness of it with a fingertip and is not disappointed.

"It belonged to my grandfather. There is enough about him to be sufficiently interesting - enough to make me think that it might be wise to find out more about him. He was from Gateway it would seem."

"Gateway?" Corwin says, handing the spear back to Jerod. "That's interesting, but somehow not surprising." He gestures toward the street, indicating that he's ready to move on. "Is that where your travel plans take you next?"

"Eventually." Jerod says, putting the spear into a one-hand cradle carry position as he moves into position beside Corwin for the walk. "A message to the ambassador there for Moire. I've also got something from Droit for Random. I'll probably trump him to pass it through since I haven't been to his Xanadu yet."

Jerod pauses for a moment to listen to any response that Corwin might have concerning this before continuing.

"I haven't either. But I'm going to be interested in visiting it and finding out what he's making of his reality someday," Corwin replies.

"I was also wondering if you had been considering set up relations with anyone, trade or otherwise. I've been wanting to try something for a little while but the opportunity has not yet presented itself, and I'm not sure if you'd be going to do it yourself since you're responsible for the show here. You wouldn't happen to want a path laid down to anyplace, would you?"

Corwin perks up a bit at the offer. "Actually, I have one agent who will be working on that, although I could happily have another. Your aunt Florimel has agreed to lay paths on my behalf as a general ambassador. But you don't want to lay a path to a shadow, Jerod. That's much harder than laying it from a shadow to a place like Amber--used to be, anyway, or Paris. Go where you want to and forge a path on your return."

Jerod smiles. "That probably explains why the one I forged to Bellum blew up. That and the war and the Patterns adjusting."

Corwin nods. "Yes, that could do it."

The next question would be...would you want one to Gateway or Xanadu? Or perhaps somewhere else I might have been."

"A path to Xanadu will come in its own time. Gateway would be useful, or Bellum. Any of the old Golden Circle kingdoms--places hungry for the sort of trade Amber used to give them. Then, in addition to my gratitude, you'd have theirs as well," Corwin suggests. It's the sort of thing Eric would have said.

Corwin gestures toward the street, so they can walk up to the palace.

Jerod moves with Corwin, letting the King set the direction and pace, looking around curiously to see how the city is faring while they continue on their walk.

The city is vital, as Jerod expects of a center of reality. People bustling about, busy with their endeavors. A lot to see, hear, smell--and do.

"I suspect that I could get lots of gratitude, if only I was willing to pay the prices of what some are asking." Jerod says, his tone evidently referring to others unspoken of, and not including Corwin. "Somehow I don't think I'm willing to pay what's being asked. Things have changed. I think for now I'll be doing whatever seems like a good idea at the time...or just enjoyable." and he smiles. "And if gratitude comes along...well, so much the better. I will deliver Gateway for now. A test to see if I can pull it off."

"I'm surprised to hear that Flora is going to be here, though in some respects it kind of makes sense. She was always more interested it seemed in the Court environment that Dad and grandfather could offer. The same as you can provide I suspect. I doubt very much if she and Random would get along, and I seriously suspect his kingdom is not going to be anything like Amber's was. Except for the reality part. Will Lucas be joining her?" he asks, pausing to await the reply before continuing.

"She hasn't said so," Corwin replies. "Nor has he."

"I will have to make time to speak to her, one of these days. But in the interim, I did promise an update of sorts. Llewella arrived just before I departed though I did not have time to speak to her. Her little package will be returned shortly. I actually forgot about in due to other considerations. In the time since we last spoke I've been trying to find out what little could be found concerning our little Triton situation. There's not much I'm afraid and most I suspect will be buried pretty deep. Deep enough that I'll be out of my league unless I can find out some more first about pre-history. That means talking to Uncle Benedict, assuming I can get ahold of him. The last time I spoke to him, I didn't have an idea as to what questions to ask. Now, things are a bit clearer."

"What I did find out was that someone that Celina knew...someone named Khela of Khrop is apparently not very well liked. When I arrived, a session of Court was underway and Khrop was not getting very favorable mention. Dropping Khela's name to my mother let me see her nasty side." and Jerod frowns. "That's a bad thing to see, for anybody. It's even worse if you're on the receiving end. Now, I remember when Celina arrived there was mention made by your man of a Triton attack when she was with him. There was some pre-supposition that Celina might have been sent away to protect her though now I wonder if she was sent away to keep her away from Khela and company."

"I had thought of going to find out more about Khrop, but stumbling around in the Seaward is not a wise idea. I need more data. Llewella might be able to tell me more but I need someone who's advise I trust. There's one who might know, but I need to get ahold of him first."

"Vere managed to get his men, as I presume you know from his march back. He seemed to do pretty well, and the Queen didn't give him too much trouble it seemed. The usual husband-price negotiations, that sort of thing. I suspect if any pressure comes for him it will be later."

Corwin stops and negotiates briefly with a baker for a couple of baguettes. He offers one to Jerod and breaks the end off of one himself, consuming the end while considering Jerod's words. "Benedict has forgotten more than some of us remember. Good luck with getting answers about old times from him. But tell me more about this woman that my daughter knew, and may have been sent here to keep her away from. What do you know of her, and do you think she's a threat to Celina?"

Jerod accepts the baguette, smiling as he peels off a piece to eat. Despite years of searching there was nothing comparable to find beneath waves like fresh baked bread.

" an unknown. Beyond official statements of course. A member of Khrop...a scholar or other such type apparently, but precious little else. I had debated on going to check out Khrop myself but I realized that would have been foolish. All that would do is make people more cautious and without gaining anything."

"I'm not sure if I'd say Khela is a threat or not. I don't have any information to make the assessment. But grandmother made a comment...that Khrop was foolish and took foolish chances. Now, I asked her about Khrop and Khela and Celina in regards to another situation concerning my sister. She didn't respond directly, which is not surprising. But her choice of words struck me for some reason. I'm not sure why. I think I realized then that chasing after vague bits of information wasn't going to get me anywhere. Except maybe dizzy."

"There's more to what's going on but it's all hidden, like sharks in the reed-beds. You don't see them until they want to be seen. So, it was time to go talk to people, and do something different."

He takes another bite of the baguette, looking over at a stall for a moment where a portly gentleman holds a bottle for a prospective customer, pouring a dark red liquid into a glass as a heated discussion begins. "Don't tell me you've got Burgundy on the edge of your kingdom?" Jerod asks Corwin.

With a mouth full of baguette, Corwin chooses not to speak his answer, but his grin and the nod indicate something of the sort.

"Bast@rd." Jerod says good naturedly. "At least we know what's getting exported here. I'll take a case with me, just to show off the local product of course."

It's not clear that Corwin takes it good naturedly. But he doesn't say anything.

Jerod isn't too concerned if Corwin doesn't understand his humor - if after how many hundreds of years Corwin hasn't figured it out people's behaviour, nothing Jerod does will make much difference.

"Anyway, there are three people who might have more information on Khrop. One is Celina of course. Llewella's another one and I'll drop a question or two when I talk to her, but I doubt I'll get much there. Martin's the other one who might have knowlege and I'm hoping I'll have the best chance of actually getting a straight answer from him. Unfortunately he's been gone for so long I'm not sure of what use his information might be. However, I will be sure to ask when the opportunity arises. Celina's the best one to talk to at the moment."

"Do you know if she's still with Merlin?"

Corwin swallows the last morsel of bread. "I haven't heard that they've parted company yet. I believe they're in Amber. Merlin said there was some talk of going to Xanadu, but I don't recall whether anything came of it. He had promised a trump to someone--of you, I think--but hadn't finished it yet."

"He had a sketch of me before I left." Jerod says. "We did a it were. A rather strange feeling it was to receive the call."

"Is there any other word from Amber?"

"Since you left? Flora has come and Reid passed through. I think that's all. Oh, and Vere and his troop. You know about Amber, though. What we're more and more likely to hear about is how people have left Amber for Paris, Rebma, and Xanadu." He shrugs. "Amber won't ever be what she used to be."

"That's as expected." Jerod replies. "I'll have to make a note to get ahold of Random, find out what's up with any plans to move people. Assuming there are any plans at all."

At the moment, Jerod has little else to say and no questions to ask. Barring a descent into polite conversation, I'm figuring it's Eot.

Corwin is willing to make polite conversation on the way back to the Palais de Paris, which is what the locals are beginning to call his analog to Castle Amber. Alice Roth greets Jerod and arranges for a room for him. Soon enough, he is fed and has privacy, if he wishes it, to sleep and make trump calls.

Trump calls to await...:) - he will do those just before he departs from Paris...first to a new thread methinks.

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Last modified: 11 May 2005