To Wear the Crown (Bator)

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#1
Bator would find himself back in his spacious room within Castle Amber, in the northern wing of the massive fortress. Through the open double doors that led out onto his private balcony, Bator could see the white sails of the Northern Fleet under orders from his trusted and boisterous sibling, Prince Gamon.

On his perch by the many bookcases which lined Bator's study area, was Grimoire, the talking raven familiar that was created for him by his father, a gift to commemorate their first campaign together in Shadow. Grimoire was not a mere conjuration, but actually instilled with the real essence of the Pattern and bound to the Prince as much as he was bound to the Pattern itself. The Raven had the ability to speak and to sing, but was not particularly smart. It had the capacity of thought displayed by an average human in shadow.

"You don't look very happy," Grimoire said upon seeing his master enter the room. Stating the obvious was a habit of Grimoire's. He could also be a bit blunt. But he was very much devoted to Bator, and rarely gave anyone else the time of day.
 
Nov 11, 2008
271
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#2
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

"You could say that." Bator sighed wearily as he walked over to his familiar and scratched the back of the bird's head once he got there. "Father has died, and without announcing an heir. I'm worried for the future of Amber; we need a king, and soon. Whatever killed our father surely won't take long to capitalize on this victory."

Bator sat heavily in his favorite chair, the one next to his bookcase, and reminisced. Here, in the privacy of his own bedroom, away from the eyes of his siblings and other nobles, he could allow himself the luxury of mourning. He still couldn't believe his father was gone. He fondly recalled getting into trouble for teasing Vivianna (though he couldn't recall what he'd teased her about). He remembered the look on father's face as mother held the newborn twins Svaltus and Vaelus in her arms. He remembered Olin explaining the Pattern to him, and the responsibilities to it as King and it wasn't long before his vision blurred with tears.

It was a while before Bator had managed to stop crying. Determining that sitting here weeping wasn't going to solve anything, Bator washed his face, and changed into more comfortable traveling clothes. "You want to go visit Gamon with me?" Grimoire usually didn't seem to like anyone other than Bator, but Gamon seemed to have been growing on the bird lately. Of course, the snacks Gamon typically carried for that very purpose may have had something to do with it.

Gamon and he didn't always (or even often) see eye-to-eye on many things, but Bator always felt better after speaking with the Northern Admiral; his old friend offered a unique perspective on things that had more than once kick-started Bator's thought processes onto the path to an answer.
 
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BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#3
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

In answer to Bator's invitation, Grimoire flitted over to his shoulder and perched on it. Ravens are larger birds than most suspect, but Bator was an Amberite and could support its weight on his shoulders easily enough. Bator sent for a carriage that met him at the castle gate and he took it into town, passing his sister Dubiel along the way, walking into town as was her custom. Ever the wandering bard that one, and with that strange mask hung on her shapeshifted form. She was a true artist - eccentricity for its own sake.

His carriage took him swiftly to the port where a swift sloop with white sails would take him out into the ocean, turning north towards Shalomar. After about an hour at sea, Bator came within sight of the pride of the Amber Navy, "The Immortal," Gamon's personal warship. It glimmered with the inscription of Pattern in golden lines across its lighter-than-water metal hull. Three proud masts boasted the white sails of the fleet along with a blue and white personal flag to describe Gamon's heraldry.

"Brother! An honor to have you come aboard!" Gamon's large figure stood upon the prow, his gloved hand clasping at the rigging as he gave Bator a casual salute. Swiftly the crew of both ships set up a boarding plank and Bator was able to walk over to Gamon's ship and embrace the large sailor.

"Ah... you have that look upon you." Gamon's normally gregarious face took on a rare look of somberness. "I am sorry then. Father has passed. But... the king is dead, long live the king! No doubt he has named you heir?"
 
Nov 11, 2008
271
18
#4
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

The carriage ride helped to clear the Amberite's head a bit, and even helped his mood a little. He considered offering Dubiel a ride as he passed her, but thought better of it; he very much doubted she'd want to ride with him, especially in disguise as she was. Instead, Bator contented himself with smiling at her oddness, and made a mental note to catch her next performance. He always enjoyed them, even when she didn't know he was there.

"Ah, no, Gamon. In fact, father did not name anyone heir." He glanced around furtively. "Er, perhaps we should discuss this in your cabin?"

Once Gamon, Bator and the bird were inside the cabin, Bator took a deep breath and began to explain, the words pouring from his mouth at a breakneck pace. "Gamon, something killed father, I'm sure of it. I don't know what yet, but I fear it won't be long before whatever it was strikes us. Amber needs a ruler, one who understands the pattern and can protect it; unfortunately, I may be the only one who qualifies." Bator paused momentarily, as though the words he'd just said had only now occurred to him, and he was still trying to make sense of them. "Without a named heir," he continued quickly, "I suspect it won't be long before the court devolves to petty infighting, which is precisely what father's killer wants, I bet."

He'd been pacing the small cabin as he spoke, a habit of his whenever he was deep in thought. He stopped abruptly and looked pleadingly at Gamon. "I don't know what to do, brother. I'm not ready to be king! There's still so much I don't know," Bator wailed miserably. He took a moment to gather himself, head bowed as he pinched the bridge of his nose between a thumb and index finger. "I know, should it come to it, and by the gods I hope it does not, that I have your support, as well as Edric's and Rhone's." As children, the four of them had been nearly inseparable friends, a friendship that had carried through to present, with nary a rough patch in the intervening years.

Gamon had several chances to offer words of wisdom, encouragement, or whatever else he wished during Bator's speech, and there was another long pause before the would-be king spoke again. "Do you know of anything that could have altered father's thoughts? Made him reluctant to name an heir, or anything like that?" It was a long shot, but maybe Gamon had heard of something like that on one of his excursions beyond the horizon.
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#5
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

Once inside the spacious captain's quarters of The Immortal, Gamon had taken a seat and poured himself a glass of spirits, offering one to Bator but swiftly being ignored. Shrugging, Gamon had poured the second glass anyway, and once the first had been downed, he started in immediately on the second. At last he spoke when Bator paused in his speech.

"Brother, if you do not know how someone could have accomplished such an attack on our father's health then I doubt there is anyone save the culprit who could answer that question. You received more attention and more tutelage from Father than any of us -- and no, I'm not jealous -- you're the eldest heir and it only makes sense that he'd groom you specifically to be king. If he did not name you it, then I would wager that whatever cursed illness destroyed his body also prevented him from doing the logical thing and making you the new king. Even without his say so, you are the natural choice. I know that. Edric and Rhone know it too. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool and a usurper in my opinion. Now is not the time for hesitation on your part! You must make your claim loudly and soon. The people will support you and you will force your enemies to declare themselves all the sooner before they are prepared. Eh? Close ranks and establish your rule as Father would have. Certainly you must have the Jewel of Judgement? With that, you would have all the authority and power you would need to rule."


Gamon referred too the Jewel of Judgement, also known as the Eye of the Serpent. It was Father's greatest achievement - a relic of immense power whose origin was considered one of the many "miracles" that Olin had caused during his rule. The gem was inscribed with a three-dimensional representation of the Pattern, and had once been the eye of the Serpent - the embodiment of the Logrus itself. Absolute Order imposed on Absolute Chaos. As master of the jewel, Olin had wielded the power of the Universe. Surely with Bator's extended understanding of the Pattern, he would be able to exert some will over the artifact that none other could?
 
Nov 11, 2008
271
18
#6
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

Bator shook his head sadly. "No, father did not gift the Jewel to me, either. And any enemies I reveal by declaring myself king would be our brothers and sisters, Gamon. Surely, there is some way to resolve this issue without bloodshed? Surely...."

Bator's face lit up with sudden recognition as an idea took shape in his mind. "The Jewel! If I possess that, how would anyone contest my claim to be king!? Hmm," he murmured, features turning thoughtful, "father would have kept the Jewel somewhere safe, if not on him. Maybe the vault, or tucked away somewhere in his room?" Bator ceased his pacing and sat down in the chair opposite Gamon. "Excuse me for a moment, brother. I'm going to look for the Jewel." Bator conjured the image of the Pattern in his mind, locating his father's room among its twists and turns. If he doesn't find it there, he'll turn toward Castle Amber's vaults, searching among the artifacts contained therein.
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#7
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

Searching first in his father's room, Bator might be either amused or shocked to see his brother Vaelus rifling through the bookshelves, having already apparently searched through his father's desk. In his hand, Vaelus held a paper, but nothing else resembling the Jewel. In fact, Bator was certain that the Jewel was not there and that the slightly dissappointed look on his brother's face was probably to do with this fact.

Skipping ahead to the Vaults, Bator beheld the wealth of Amber, glittering piles of golden coin and jewels of immeasurable beauty, master-crafted weapons and armor, stylized with the insignia of the unicorn. Yet nothing amongst these treasures was the actual Jewel of Judgement. It seemed that it was in neither of the places that immediately came to mind, and no doubt Bator would figure that Olin had planned for this. If his father had wanted Bator to have the jewel easily, it would already be in Bator's possession. It must have been placed elsewhere for a reason...
 
Nov 11, 2008
271
18
#8
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

"Why is Vaelus in father's room? And what's in his hand?" If Vaelus was searching for the Jewel, too (assuming he was, which seemed a safe assumption), who else could be seeking it? If he can, Bator will focus in on the paper and try to read it. Either way, he won't dwell here long.

"Hmm," Bator murmured to himself as he searched the vaults, "it's not here, either. Maybe somewhere else in the castle?"

Bator would spend the necessary time to do a thorough search of the rest of the castle, looking for the Jewel or at least a clue to its whereabouts.
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
7,069
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#9
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

Unfortunately the way Vaelus has the paper folded in his hand meant that Bator's view through the lens of the Pattern could not make out the script. He would have to take the paper from Vaelus if he wanted to do so, and while physically that was impossible, mentally, he could likely contact Vaelus through the lens of Pattern if he so wished - it was a secret trick only those Advanced disciples of the Pattern could understand.

After a few minutes of searching the entirety of Castle Amber, Bator was confident that the Jewel was not within its walls.
 
Nov 11, 2008
271
18
#10
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

Decisions, decisions. If the Jewel wasn't in the Castle, it could be anywhere, and attempting to search for it would take far more time than Bator was willing to devote to the effort at present.

"The Jewel is not in the Castle," he announced to Gamon as his mind returned to the ship's cabin. "I doubt anyone stole it, so father must have sent it somewhere." Bator pondered for a moment, scratching at his beard idly before continuing. "Maybe to another sibling? If we were all fighting each other over possession of the Jewel, that would certainly aid whomever is planning to attack us."

"My apologies, brother, but I must take my leave. Edric and Rhone need to be informed of father's passing, assuming they don't know already, and I need to make plans for the funeral." Bator stood silently for a moment after that, a hand covering his face to rub his temples. A stifled sob was the only indication of grief he would allow shown.

"I shall call upon you if I have need, Gamon," he concluded after a moment spent composing himself, without any signs of sorrow. A final embrace and he was off, returning with his pet to the boat. He would attempt to Trump Vaelus during the trip; if that didn't work, he'd use the Pattern to contact his brother.
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
7,069
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#11
Re: To Wear the Crown (Bator)

After a pause, Vaelus' image appeared through Trump as Bator was sailing back towards the city port.

"Is there something I can help you with, brother?" came the young duelist's cold voice, not sounding very helpful. He wore a sour expression through the image of trump. He appeared to be busy walking down the hallways of Castle Amber. "Cameron has already prepared a public announcement at the central plaza in an hour's time. Rumors of father's death have spread beyond the walls already. Anyone with half a psychic brain cell in Amber can feel the vacuum Olin's presence has left."

Bator would have to concede that point. Since his father's passing, something intangible in Amber seemed different, empty -- and it was causing a rippling effect across Shadow as well. Who knew how far it could be felt?