It's several hours later when my thoughts returns to the Rebecca. I hadn't intended to wait quite this long before checking back with the ship, but the reports in the files here are so mind-numbingly dull that I've lost track of the time. I trump Captain Walker of the Rebecca this time, not Dexter who I don't trust to give me an accurate assessment of the state of the ship and its crew. I am distressed to find the Captain is sitting in a lifeboat. It seems that with bright sunlight an excellent visibility, the ship hit an iceberg(!). The crew abandoned ship in good order, but then Prince Dexter disappeared behind the iceberg with one of the boats and the men in it. Wondering how I am going to explain all this to Admiral Grace, I tell the Captain to keep the remaining boats together while I work on how to rescue them. As Captain Walker's face fades from before my eyes, I ponder how to make this rescue a reality.

A rescue ship is my first thought, but I quickly shelve the idea. Even if I had a ship ready to sail it would take time to get far enough to sea that I could begin to shift to find the Rebecca, and that would not be an easy task in the region between Amber and the Golden Circle kingdoms. That I would have to search for them in shadow seemed likely given the normal absence of icebergs on any of the shadow paths Amber has laid. Too long, given the dangerous sorts of shadow Dexter seems to naturally gravitate towards.

Trumping through and leading the remaining boats to Amber is another idea I dismiss for several reasons. Trumping the crew out might work, but the only full trump I have are of embassy people in the Golden Circle kingdoms and an influx of this many people would bring its own host of problems. If I'm going to try trumping them out, it will have to be back to Amber. Sketches would be far too slow given their short life span and the number of crew needing transport, but with a live model to work from I should be able to work up a full trump in a handful of hours, and I'm sure my favorite model would be willing to cooperate in this. Putting pen to paper, I soon find myself trumping through into the warm arms of Natashia.

Natashia isn't inspired by the idea of a horde of sailors pouring through the house, but she'll do it for me. She also teases me with a few suggestions of 'artistic' poses I might like to draw her in. Excellent suggestions all, but for another time. Definitely another time. While the household staff prepares for a large influx of uncultured guests I work at my fastest pace to complete my little piece of artwork. Flexing my cramped fingers after laying on the final stroke, I tell Natashia to take a short break while I tend to some final details. These are the sketch to bring me back through to Captain Walker, and a letter to Grace with a copy to Root. The letter describes in brief the circumstances around the sinking of the Rebecca, and suggests the sailors be kept someplace reasonably isolated and sworn to secrecy until we decide how we want to deal with the situation. The letters are a precaution in case the trump burns out before everyone gets through, an all too likely possibility.

Trumping Captain Walker, I receive some disturbing news. The weather's started getting rough, and the tiny boats are being tossed. If something doesn't happen soon, the crew will be lost. I have him make space in his boat and trump through to him. I then trump Natashia, waiting patiently in the parlor, and start passing sailors through as quickly as I can. Captain Walker is the last to be passed through the rapidly deteriorating trump. Wisps of flame are breaking out around its edges, quickly quenched by rain and wind lashed spray. Captain Walker barely escapes being engulfed in the burst of flame passing through, and suddenly I'm alone in a small boat bring tossed about in a big storm with mild burns on one hand.

Feeling the boat swing about suddenly, I grab the oars so recently abandoned by Captain Walker and turn the boat back into the wind before the waves completely swamp it. I then start rowing for calmer seas. Soon, the wind has died down a bit and the waves are no longer quite so threatening. Sheltering the fragile trump from wind and wave, I again call to Peg-Leg Adler and take the short way back to Antioch.

Gustav [Gustav Home] Session Date: 21 February, 2001