In case you’re not reading the little Amber stuff I make public at my LiveJournal account, the following is the transcription of a dream I recently had that was Total Amber crack!fic.
For the record, it starts after Brand does his tumble into the Pit, and it finishes on a mature audience note.
Caine pushed Corwin out of the way, hitting him hard shoulder-to-shoulder and knocking the screaming man from the edge. “Don’t be an idiot,” he growled, his voice thick with emotion. “We haven’t lost her.”
Florimel came up with the grappling hooks. “They do it all the time here. Pit diving. We grab Dee and swing back up. I’ll do it.”
Bleys shook his head, taking the hooks from Florimel. “Brand was my brother, my problem. I’ll do it.” Flora reluctantly gave him control with a shrug.
“What do you think he meant with that last?” Julian asked Caine, who kicked Corwin once to make sure Dee’s brother was done with his histronics.
“Aborted death curse? The magic’s there. Something will happen. Get up and pull yourself together, man!” The last was to Corwin. “Don’t embarrass us,” Caine hissed like it mattered.
“I will handle our cousins,” Benedict said, tersely. He turned towards the hordes, a cruel smile playing against his thin lips. “Fiona?” He looked at where the redhead was talking to Bleys. She turned and nodded to Benedict, faint bits of blue lightning flashing like chains around her wrists as she said a word or two and then moved towards the General, the power beginning to spark white around her fingertips.
Julian smiled as Corwin snarled, having gotten his bearings. “I’ll kill him,” the prone man growled.
“Too late,” Julian said.
Caine crouched down. “He’s gone. Now shut up and let the grown-ups handle this.”
“I meant you,” Corwin said, grabbing at Caine. The green-clad archer scuttled back in a way that seemed almost graceful as Julian put a warning hand on Corwin’s shoulder.
“Don’t make me knock you out. Deirdre will be cold and disoriented. She’ll need you to be calm.”
“She’s gone. It’s the pit, for hornssake! And the Jewel, too. We’ll be trapped here! Where’s Dara?”
“Dara?” Julian asked.
“With Benedict and Martin on the field. Here.” The archer threw a blanket to Corwin. “Give it the hotfoot or whatever warming spell you know. I’m going to check on Bleys.”
Random moved up the hill, Llewella trailing a half-step behind. The green-haired woman stopped and shouted a warning. An instant later, a silvery-white blur jumped over Lord Borel’s discarded armour, horn bringing the daylight of the blue sun at its tip.
Llewella’s arrow found its mark. The unicorn slumped over, a metallic red fire burning across its neck. Corwin shouted something unintelligible, as Julian began running over. Llewella met him at his destination.
“Get the carbuncle,” she said.
“The…oh.” Julian snapped the horn back, releasing the ruby red gem from its base. The fire moved up to his wrist, writhing against the strange white armor he wore, unable to penetrate. “How did you know?” he asked, looking up at the Rebman.
“You think the old Dwor King never visited his pleasure Pattern? Moins and Moire did a lot of experiments you Amberites were too soft to try. I think this one was the third of the Horned Guardians.” She pulled the headband off and swung her green locks away from where they had been trapped against her face. “We’ll need someone of the right Blood to activate it. Preferably someone disposable,” she looked directly at him, green eyes to blue.
“Random,” he said.
“We’ll take that,” she said, speaking for Rebma. Julian knew she meant both the choice and the horn.
Julian rose from the body, handing the horn to Llewella. The fire consumed the rest of the creature, leaving nothing but a wisp of ash and smoke.
He turned just in time to see Bleys climb up from the Pit, an unconscious Deirdre over his shoulder. Caine and Florimel knelt over some kind of unrolled parchment in the dirt, a couple of Caine’s sailors holding it down and offering quick reports. Florimel’s longbow had been discarded momentarily for one of Caine’s emerald-hilted knives. Julian felt the weight of the red gem in his hands, and looked for Random.
The runt was helping unfold the blanket for Corwin, making it look like there was some kind of picnic to be had. A flash of red lightning indicated the growing nature of the coming storm. The jewel pulsed in his hand, and he turned to look at Llewella. She pointed ahead of them as they climbed the hill, the menacing threat of the Thelbane hovering above the huge ring of mists they’d made the edge of their camp.
There was the sound of blades crashing into each other from a distance. Some shouts went up and some of Julian’s Rangers escorted a huge man into the camp. “Gerard!” he shouted. He ran across the blackened, burnt ground.
“You big oaf!” he said as his little brother dismounted, wiping the tar-like ash of the wyverns off his enormous sword. “You were supposed to stay in Amber.”
“And get slaughtered while Lintra took the castle? The Old Man did something to it, and then sent me to the Tree.” Gerard grunted a thanks as a Ranger took his steed. “The tree said Corwin had planted some kind of world seed, and then some mystic mumbo jumbo about a crow and a jackal fighting it out on his tail. What happened? Are you holding what I think you’re holding?”
“Huh. I’ve got to get rid of it. Last thing in the world I want is this kind of trouble,” Julian admitted.
“You got that right,” Gerard grinned. “Hey!” his grin turned to a grimace. “What’s that sneaking, conniving little candy of a man…” he started up the hill.
“Bleys? He brought us an army and a half,” Julian ran with him.
“Hope it’s good against dragons,” Gerard muttered.
They congregated on the hill. Benedict, Fiona, Dara, and Martin coming up from one side, Florimel and Caine’s swiftly shouted orders drawing men up from another. Llewella stood alone, arrow ready for an attack, long green hair blowing in the breeze. She was watching the storm, her back to the mists. Bleys was shivering, looking shaken.
“Hail, hail, the gang’s all here,” Caine said, a little louder in the rising wind.
“Indeed,” Benedict agreed, looking at Gerard with a frown. “Is there word from the King?”
“Yes,” the bigger man replied. He pulled Julian closer. “This,” he said, pointing to where Julian’s clasped hand shone with ruby light.
“It belongs to Random,” Julian said, quickly.
“The stone?” Random asked. “Rock of ages?” He held out his hand for Julian to give it.
“Straight from the Unicorn’s horn,” Julian agreed.
“Huh.” Corwin looked relieved. “You’ll need to attune it.”
“Germinate the seed,” Florimel said. She turned and said something to Fiona that Julian couldn’t hear over the wind. He felt a million times lighter for not having the bloody nuisance in his hands.
“Let me show you,” Corwin said. Caine moved over to make sure Deirdre was alright. She demurred under her blanket, and Fiona conjured something as black as the night to wrap Bleys. Corwin moved to Random. He frowned at the Jewel, but focused on it. The Jewel pulsed with the lightning of the storm, and the two men seemed to fade for a moment, translucent in their concentration.
“The Old Man’s dead,” Gerard said to Julian.
“I kind of figured as much. I think we all did. What about the Wizard?”
“Dworkin? He was helping Dad in the last stand. Said something about a Great Seal. Dad made some kind of dumb joke about Rebmans, but he was always doing that.” Gerard shrugged. “Brand?”
“Hate to see all your good work gone to waste,” Julian began, but Gerard cut him off.
“I figured him for the jackal. Look, I never said this, but truth is, it fits him. Eating off other people’s kills, usually Fi’s. He wanted to be big in a way even his sucker of a brother didn’t try for, and I figured him for a fluff.” Gerard rubbed his head. “Any other traitors while we’re in the place where the sky’s gone crazy?”
“Looks like teamwork is saving the day. Caine came in at the right moment.”
“Figured him for the crow,” Gerard said, “but I don’t do a lot of figurin’, so I was ready to be wrong. Last thing Dad said was something about a storm.” He looked up. “Red sky at morning, noon, and evenin’, I see.”
“Llewella was on about something like that, too. She’s been staring at the sky.”
“Huh. Rebmans aren’t big on weather, but I remember something Osric said once, about Lir’s lightning. I suppose Benedict would know.” The big man sighed, and looked around him. “There’s something weird about this place.”
Julian recognized when Gerard cracked a joke, and he laughed heartily.
“There it is. Home, sweet home,” Corwin said.
“For you stone dwellers,” Julian said. He was in a good mood, having spent the day riding in Arden’s halls of green and gold. The forest seemed to have survived fairly much intact. If there were more sinister creatures in it, he wasn’t dissuaded – a good hunt had also improved his view.
“Sure we can’t convince you to move back in now that Dad’s not around?” Random asked.
“You need me here,” Julian said. “The only thing that had my men fall is that we were battling across open ground. We did almost as much damage as Caine’s sailors.”
“For having twice as many, not bad, bro,” Caine jibed.
“You’re in a good mood,” Julian noted.
“I can smell the sea air.” He gave Julian a look. Julian followed it to Llewella, who was still quiet, but somewhat more alert than she had been through the forest. She rode cowled in a Ranger’s hood. “Arden helped.”
“It’s just like the big beds of seaweed, only not as wet,” Random said in an undertone, having ridden closer. He smiled as Caine and Julian looked at him. “Oh, and more private since you don’t have Rangers riding in when you want a quick tryst.”
Caine snorted, and Julian sighed. The King fell back a little to talk with his son.
“It looks different.” Deirdre hadn’t said much. Caine’s opinion was shared by Julian – they both thought Corwin was stifling her.
“Yeah,” Random said, riding up again. He flowed between all of them, more confident, maybe even a couple of inches taller since the siege at Thelbane. “Way different. That’s the old front gate, and the main body, but I don’t recognize a lot of it.”
“Caine, Bleys,” Benedict said. “Caine, port. Bleys, with me.” They rode off in a gallop of thunder.
“You in for this?” Random asked Julian.
Morgenstern had been tracking something black in the distance, which was where the white-armored man had his attention. “Hold.” He grunted. “Flying monkeys.” He frowned.
Random’s held breath exploded in a peal of laughter.
“Not funny,” Gerard said. “I hate dodging poo.”
“You’ll be alright here?” Random asked Martin.
“The men know me. You just signal if you need us.” The boy ran his hand through his short cut hair, letting it spike out at the sides. “I mean that, Dad. Don’t play the martyr.”
“But it’s my most famous role,” Random said, mockingly. He nodded once to his son. “Just because I said family only,” he began, but Martin cut him off.
“You need someone you trust to stay here. I’m not any less your family because of it.”
“Got it,” they said in unison. Random grinned, and it was matched by Martin.
“Don’t go getting into trouble with that Dara,” he said.
“None of ’em,” Martin agreed. “Anyway, Benedict’d kill me.”
They clasped hands firmly, and then Martin rode back to the trees.
“He’s your son,” Gerard said.
“He’s trouble,” Random agreed. “So what did Dworkin tell you?”
“Only that Dad told the castle to play to our strengths. He, uh…” Gerard broke off.
Random raised an eyebrow.
“I think he expected Corwin to be in charge. Just something he said,” he coughed, not looking at his King.
“Yeah, well,” Random smirked. “Corwin thinks he’s in charge anyway. If it helps us get in and breaks this Great Seal, I’ll let him step on my toes. Steel-toed boots, you know.”
Gerard grinned. “Benedict won’t like it.”
“What brother Benny-boy doesn’t see can’t hurt him. He suspects invisible threats anyway.”
Gerard laughed, as did the King.
“Seriously, though, I think the gates are yours. Your strength being, well, strength.”
Gerard grinned. “I was going to ask for them anyway. Julian will cover me.”
Julian nodded. Llewella had one of the monkeys in her sights. She let loose an arrow which described a graceful arc and pinned it right into a tall tower turret.
“What’s she using, armor-piercing?” Random asked, impressed.
“Some kind of Rebman projectile. They need to combat water resistance.”
“Huh. Makes a sort of sense.” Random watched it twitch for another minute. “They’ll come in hordes, you know.”
“I trust my brother,” Gerard said, without even looking at Julian. He jumped off his steed. “Let’s do this,” he shouted, and ran for the heavy pillars in front of the gates. Julian slid off Morgenstern, shouted something at Florimel, and followed.
Gerard’s muscles strained under the heat, chains wrapped around his shoulders. Small inky-black goblins swarmed around the pillar, taking bites from Gerard’s exposed torso and then scattering as Julian lunged. The goblins chittered and the monkeys kept swirling back in an attack of sound, let alone the small darts the monkeys threw. (In lieu of feces, Julian was glad to note.) The sounds of the monkeys faded for a moment, giving Julian a chance to attack more of the gobs, only to come back with strength, and full-sized arrows. One plunked into Julian’s shoulder, while a dozen more skipped across. Julian leaned over to cover Gerard as much as possible.
“Can’t. See,” Gerard complained.
“You’re almost done.”
“No, the monkeys. Want to fling some bilge right back at ’em,” he said, taking a breath. The pillar shuddered to a stop, and he said a word even sailors found dirty. “Looks like the monkey King.”
“I’ve got it,” Julian decided. He turned around, and aimed what Florimel had passed him because of his quick shout. The shotgun roared and the monkeys scattered. “Come back! Come back!” he mocked. Even the goblins had scattered, making quick work of Gerard’s task.
The pillars returned to their proper place, it was a couple minutes before the gates were opened. “Let’s go!” Random said. Horses were sent back to the trees in an orchestrated move that put Corwin at point, and Random in the middle of the pack. The flying monkeys sent up a screech of alarm, but were stopped by the closing of the portcullis. Darts and arrows bounced off cloaks and armour as the Amberites rushed to take back what was theirs.
“So, you’re saying the Castle is attuned to me?” Corwin asked.
“Kind of. We need to experiment a little,” Random said. “Are you getting any feelings or vibes or something?”
Behind Corwin, Fiona rolled her eyes. Random tried not to grin.
“I think…” Corwin opened his eyes and frowned. “There’s something in my room!” He ran up the first flight of stairs. Random and Gerard followed him.
He flew down the corridor like wings were attached to his feet. “Out! Out!” he drew Greyswandir in the ample room of the hallway, and burst through the open door. Two humanoid creatures with pale hair and blue masks looked up from the bed, where one had been tying the other up with copper cords so thin they nearly cut.
The noise brought other denizens of the castle towards Corwin. “In here now!” he shouted at Random and Gerard. Corwin’s blade drew white fire through the creatures on his bed while his brothers scrambled into the room. “I think I know how this works,” he said. He held Greyswandir up to the door, as if pointing. “Hold,” he said.
Two of the pale haired creatures stopped at the threshhold. They hissed, showing mouthfuls of pointed teeth, but seemed unable to cross into his room. “That’s part of it. They can’t come in if I’m here. If I’m out, though, it lets servants and others inside. The rules might be different in other places.”
“Makes sense. Kind of like inviting vampires in?” Random asked.
“Yeah, except it’s anyone. I bet Dworkin used it to to hide his lab from people wandering the corridors.”
Gerard grunted. “What about the sharkies?” he asked, pointing his thumb at the creatures still trying to break through the barrier through force of will.
“Sharkies?” Corwin asked.
“Like harpies. See their teeth?”
“Ah.” Corwin nodded.
“He’s not a clever man,” Random suggested, nudging Gerard with his elbow and chuckling.
“Did our father expect me to be here?” Llewella asked, slightly petulant.
“I do not know,” Julian answered. “Perhaps we should attend to our strengths to figure it out.”
“For that matter, he may not have intended your presence,” Flora pointed out to Julian. “Or maybe he left something in Arden for you to attend to. Some sheep that needed –”
“Girls, girls!” Fiona interrupted, sharply. “It wouldn’t matter as it would be what the Old Man considered our strengths. He did not know us as well as he thought, especially if he left Corwin in charge.”
Flora chuckled, and stepped away to check out the route to the kitchen.
“Don’t mind her,” Llewella said, finally, to Julian. She smiled a not very nice smile, and referred to Florimel. “She killed her weaker twin in the womb.”
Random grinned as they met up with Julian and the princesses. “Well, figured out one thing. Corwin’s room is good for bizarre demon B&D.”
Deirdre looked right at her youngest brother. “I won’t fall for it,” she said.
“Fall for what?” Florimel asked, looking innocent.
“I’m not saying that I knew that already,” Deirdre growled. They all laughed, except, well, Corwin.
“So, tell us about this last stand.” Random put an arm around Gerard’s waist.
“Dragon,” Gerard said.
“Big dragon, I gather.”
“Um, yeah,” Gerard said. “Look, big we could handle. This thing was Castle-eating big. Darkened the sun, held off by what I thought was the Unicorn and the old Wizard together. Not alone.”
“Could be some kind of polarity – male/female,” Fiona suggested.
“Or they both have horns,” Random suggested, with the tone of voice that suggested he might be withholding several entendres.
“I’ll go,” Deirdre said.
“No,” Corwin put his foot down. “We all know what you’re trying not to say, Gerard. The thing’s in the Pattern Room. They sealed it by letting it go down there, and we’ll need at least two people to take it, but at least one of them’s not coming back. That’s why it’s not you, Dee. I’ve already lost you once.”
“If you’re expecting altruism–” Julian began.
“No, I’m expecting Llewella and you to do something Dad never expected of you. The Castle needs me. Fiona’s the smart one so we need her.” Fiona cleared her throat but didn’t argue. “Flora’s got a way with people and Dad always liked her, so he had something in mind we haven’t come across yet. Benedict’s got the other men off making sure the city and the docks are cleared. Gerard’s already done his task, and Random’s got the Ruby.”
“The rock,” Random corrected, to himself. He felt guilty that he wasn’t arguing with Corwin. It sounded so blatant, and…
Fiona laughed. “Foolish men.” She stood in front of Corwin. “You’re blind, Corwin, you know that? You think you have all the answers, that you can,” she took a breath, and slid her robe off her shoulders, “tell what people need to do. The thought that you might be,” a thin bustier of silk met the ground after her robe. Corwin’s attention was riveted, while Julian took Deirdre aside to help Deirdre get into her armor. Julian kept his back so that he didn’t watch Fiona as she stripped for his brother. “Wrong,” she continued, “never occurs to you. There’s something,” another deep breath, and her pale pink nipples bobbed gently, “attractive about such,” the matching silk panties followed, while Gerard as a gentleman turned his head, and Random and Llewella ignored the scene, as comfortable around nudity as Rebmans were. Florimel discretely moved Fiona’s clothing to the side and took a post against visitors from the corridors. “Shall we say, arrogance,” she moved closer to Corwin, as Deirdre and Julian began sneaking out, “but we prefer,” one hand moved to stimulate her breasts as the other moved downward. Corwin wasn’t breathing, “more sensit–ahh!-ive men.”