To Antioch!

Three days time to take ship to Antioch. Too long. I decide to get things in motion there before making my official arrival. To start with, I pack for the trip as I would normally, and arrange to have my things taken down to the Rebecca before it sails. I also send orders to have the ship sail with the morning tide, whether or not Prince Dexter or myself is on board. My plan is to trump ahead to Antioch and remain incognito until the Rebecca arrives there, then appear on the ship as if I had been travelling on her the entire time. It should allow me to get a feel for the situation in Antioch before the official word from Amber arrives there, and hopefully find who might be expecting this news to be arriving.

A last thought strikes me before I depart for Antioch, and I drop by the room the Antiochan ambassador has been assigned for the night. Unfortunately it seems Carton has had the same idea, for I run into him coming out as I'm about to go in. Carton informs me he will also be leaving on the Rebecca in the morning, not an unreasonable thing for Amber's ambassador to Antioch to do. I am extremely grateful I won't actually be cooped up on a small ship with both Carton and Dexter for three days.

Carton also briefs me on the results of his interview, which provides me no new information but does make me wonder how Carton heard about the Church of the Scarlet Flow so quickly. In my own talk with the ambassador I offer what reassurances I can that we don't at this time hold him or his government at fault for the attack, but rather we're concerned for their own health in case this plot proves to be more widespread. He can offer nothing more than I've already heard through Carton as to who might benefit from such an attack.

Taking my leave of the Ambassador I send word to the Rebecca that Prince Carton might be travelling with us as well. I then take the long walk down the stairs to caverns below the castle and Amber's Pattern. This is camouflage. Few in Amber know I have mastered the art of the drawing of the Trump, and for the moment I think to try to keep the secret. Once secreted in the chamber of the pattern itself I set pen to paper and sketch a trump of Peg-Leg Adler, chief of staff in our embassy in Antioch.

The sun follows the same course through the skies of Antioch that it does in Amber, meaning that my contact must be roused from the fields of Lethe before meaningful contact can be achieved. Fleeting images of dreams, too tenuous to register in my consciousness precede awareness in the recipient of my call. I wonder again if I might somehow be able to tap into this world of the subconscious somehow, to tap into the dreams and desires which every man hides even from themselves. This thought is interrupted suddenly, as the mind on the other end recognizes the sensation of the trump and comes suddenly awake as it realizes how important it must be for such a disturbance at this hour. I ask to be brought through, then allow him the luxury of wakening fully before appraising him of the near catastrophic event which precipitated this sudden late night visitation.

Winston (as Peg-Leg is called to his face) is appropriately shocked at the news of the attempt on the life of his King, and gets into action at once. Fortunately, many of the junior staff members live in bachelor apartments on the embassy grounds, so a team is quickly assembled. Tonight the work consists of combing through embassy files and archives, searching for signs of who might have cause to be behind such an attack, as well as any information on the Church of the Scarlet Flow. In the morning will come discrete inquiries and some undercover snooping. Overt questions aren't to be undertaken until the arrival of the Rebecca and my official arrival in Antioch. With that work underway, I try to get a few hours rest before beginning what promises to be a long day tomorrow.

I wake early and discover how large the gaps are in the intelligence records kept by our embassy in Antioch. As I remembered, the Church of the Scarlet Flow is a real religious order recognized as such by the local government. It is also a society of assassins not above hiring their services out to outsiders. Not the sort of group which would attempt an assassination on the King of Amber without due cause. Who might have such a cause is far from clear, and several more hours of pouring through archives gives little more insight. Embassy intelligence reports focus more on trade and commercial interests than politics, and even when they do touch on politics they are far from thorough.

It is now late morning, and I have a decision to make. Nobody from the castle back in Amber knows I have any knowledge of the making of trump, save Deirdre from whom I learned it. Now, an assassin who can make it as far as actually landing a poison dart in King Martin presents a new level of danger. I decide not to keep this ability a secret any longer, in case it can be of aid in tracking who is behind this horrific crime.

Borrowing a quiet office, I make a sketch of Martin, pouring into it the power of the pattern which will allow it to cross worlds. It grows cold as I stare into it, although it is a much longer time before my father opens himself to contact than I expect. When his face does finally turn to face me, I catch a feeling of wary defensiveness before he recognizes me. Even then he doesn't relax totally. I explain where I am, and that I hope to do some investigative work here, incognito, before my 'arrival' on the Rebecca in a few days, hoping to find sign of anyone being aware of the plot before the news had a chance to arrive here from Amber. He tells me to bring Carton and Dexter through to help. I suppress a quick shudder at the concept, but agree to do so.

I wait until the tide has turned and the Rebecca has had a chance to get started out to sea before I trump Carton. After some confusion, he seems to understand the plan. I will trump the two of them to Antioch, but the captain and crew of the ship will act as if the three of us had been aboard for the entire trip. I then give him time to explain the situation to the others on board the ship before making contact again to retrieve the pair. Dexter isn't ready, and won't be for another hour. I bring Carton through and go back to the tedious task of assembling profiles of potential enemies of Amber for a while. An hour later, when I try trumping Dexter, I see him putting his foot through the hull of the ship. Water is starting to pour in. "Five minutes more," he wants. I break the contact. Maybe, I reason, if I leave him to fend for himself on that ship he'll come to his senses had find a way to undo the damage he has done. I don't trump him again.

Gustav [Gustav Home] Session Date: 7 February, 2001