Talking with Oberon
"Talking with Oberon:" this being a hypothetical conversation between Oberon, son of Dexter of Amber, and Prince Gustav, son of King Martin of Amber.
"Let's take a walk," Gustav suggested.
Oberon didn't really know where there was to go, but agreed. He was sick of sitting around waiting for his arm to heal.
"So tell me a little about yourself," Gustav said as they started off down the corridor. Suppressing an inner groan, Oberon launched into yet another recitation of 'Growing up with Dexter', skipping a lot of the detail he had gone into with his earlier aunts and uncles. Gustav didn't seem to mind; if anything, he seemed a bit distracted.
Chancing to look outside as they passed a window, Oberon stopped suddenly. "We're shifting shadow," he said accusingly. His brief experience travelling with his father through shadow had always involved trump. The realization that he was actually walking through shadow had taken him completely by surprise.
"That's right," was the answer. "I wanted this to be a private talk."
"What's this all about?" Oberon asked, instantly on his guard.
"All in good time. Just go on with your story for now; I really am listening."
"What about my arm? Caitlin said the healing machinery wouldn't work properly if I went out into shadow."
"Not to worry. I'm maintaining the technology of the shadow we just left. I'm also keeping the time flow advantage relative to Amber at least as good as we had there. That's actually why we're moving so slowly."
"Then what are you looking for?" Oberon asked, intrigued in spite of himself.
"This for starters," Gustav said as the corridor widened out into an elevator lobby. Opposite the elevators was a wheeled kiosk loaded with wine bottles attended by a petit brunette. "But mainly a place where we can have a pleasant conversation in private."
"Here you go," said the brunette as she handed them a basket filled with fruit and two bottles of whne. "Compliments of the management." Gustav gave her a smile and a polite 'thank you' as they took the basket and continued on their way. Around the next turn in the corridor they picked up another basket laden with french bread, cheese, garlic butter, and salami.
"Glasses," Gustav muttered to himself as they rounded the next bend. Here, the lights flickered and dust and debris had accumulated in the corner. Another turn of the corridor and the only light was from sunshine streaming in through the windows. The dust showed no footsteps had passed in a very long time. Gustav glanced inside the souveneir shop. "Redskins? That won't do at all!" The next souveneir shop yielded 'Unicorns' memoribilia, and Gustav added some glasses to their booty.
Shortly after that they settled down on a balcony with table and chairs overlooking a large, very overgrown, formal garden.
"What's all this then," Oberon asked as Gustav started spreading out their lunch.
"An introduction to civilized dining; something it doesn't sound like your father gave you much of an education in." Gustav waved Oberon's budding retort and pressed on. "Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing your father for it. It's simply not something on which he places a high priority."
"And this is something you do a lot of in Amber?" Oberon asked.
"Some of us more than others. However, this was not my main purpose in bringing you out here. I wanted to be able to talk with you in private. About your father."
"Do you know where he's gone? He left here very suddenly after everyone else showed up. I know he doesn't get along all of you very well, but I thought he'd say something to me before running off somewhere to get away from his siblings."
"No," Gustav said with a sigh, "it's a lot more complicated than that. Let me preface this by saying that your father has always had his own way of approching problems, but he has always been the person I think of in situations involving mindless violence. He was actually my inspiration in the recent fight with Caine. Unfortunately for the rest of us, his approch occasionally causes problems for others. While showing a remarkable openness to think of Caine as possibly being something other than a fratricidal monster, Dexter uniwttingly opened himself up to being made into Caine's tool."
Oberon was on his feet in an instant, holding Gustav in the air by the front of his tunic. "What's happened to my father! Tell me!"
"I'm trying to," Gustav replied, gently trying to remove the hands clutching the front of his tunic.
Suddenly realizing what he was doing, Oberon released Gustav and started rapidly pacing along the edge of the balcony. "It's something to do with Grandfather, isn't it. Father been furious with him for years for taking me away and then stranding the two of us in shadow."
Gustav returned to his seat and refilled his wine glass. "I suspect your father's animosity towards Martin was intensified by Caine's tampering, but you're right. Your father did something which hurt Martin severely, and Caine was behind that attack. An indirect attack to be sure, but all the more damaging for that. Martin has been driven insane, to the point of not recognizing his own children. I came out this way specifically to get medical care for my brother Root, attacked and badly burned by Martin. All I know about Dexter is he struggles for his own life even now."
Oberon was back in front of Gustav, staring into his face. "Take me to him. Now!"
"What about your arm? The technology holding it together isn't likely to work in Amber.
Oberon took a step back. "It'll grow back. Father said it might take a while, but eventually I'll grow a new one. I need to see my father now. He needs me."
"All right," Gustav answered reluctantly, "but you'd better relax. I's going to take me a little while to get us there." With that, Gustav pulled some drawing materials out of a small satchel and began to draw.