The Hundredth Vale
Ran’choth [reflection of light from a perfect pearl] pour !sensation of fine sand! (aka Ran)
Child of the Logrus and it's inherent unknowability, Ran has come to Amber to discover the alternate side of his heritage.
Child of Lady Del [heat of passion] par !harsh grate of steel on bone! pel Saroul of House Hendrake and Andy Barimen (currently not formally recognized by Amber)
WAR – Amber
PSY – Amber
END – 14
STR – 42
All Minor, All Standard, Advanced – Animal Abilities, Absort and Eject Mass, Creatures of Blood, Shift Others, Elemental Forms
Imprint, Summon Tendrils, Shadow Travel, Summon Sign of the Logrus
Friend of the Blood – Andy Barimen (2)
Enemy of the Blood – ?? (+2)
Schooled in the arts of Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Conceptual Philosophy and History.
Ran finishes the Logrus and emerges…
A forest glade, reminds me of various camping trips, the sky is in blue turning and its light, but the woods around us are strangely dark and filled with shadows. Fairly sure the trees weren’t there when I started walking the Logrus but it doesn’t seem fair to expect them to wait all day and I’m sure they have errands of their own to attend to, in any case, I hope none of them grows over a tendril, things like that could start a fire.
Sappho reclines on her lawnchair, sipping something frosty. The little umbrella in her drink is incongruous with her archaic Romanesque wrap. She is eyeing me closely over the ice on the rim of her glass.
“Welcome back” she says flatly.
“I wasn’t aware I had left”, which was true, I wasn’t aware of a great many things it seemed to me, but that wasn’t all that important at the moment. Perhaps it should have been.
“Well, if you want to get technical, you’ve only just arrived” she returned, laying back and stirring her drink intently. “But that’s really a matter of semantics.” “I see” I said, I didn’t, but Sappho could be obscure at times and often it was best to just agree and go on.
Eventually, having apparently established mastery over her beverage (not always a guarenteed victory) she continued. “We need to explain some things. Things regarding your death, life and what-not.” I gave her a sidelong glance. “No Ran’choth [reflection of light from a perfect pearl] pour !sensation of fine sand!, you’re not dead, you were in a sense, but you got better. You’re not really alive either, at least in the same way. I can see your ego expanding from here, don’t bother, your not the new Serpent and we still haven’t located the last one, in any case its a little late in your life for you to get religion. These things sometimes just happen, it has before, it will again.”
It was my turn to closely examine my drink, I’d been sipping it for several minutes now but I hadn’t the slightest idea what it was. Sappho was sounding deranged, but I knew I could trust her. I’d known her for. . . well, I sure it was an impressive length of time. Death, rebirth; fine, someone call Suhuy.
“He’s old Ran, and he doesn’t need surprises.” Sappho set down her drink and put on a sun hat, the blue was rather bright. The Shadow handed me a pair of sunglasses and I put them on thankfully.
“You’ve always been interested in the conceptual Ran, in fact you are considered a rising star in the field of abstract form conceptualization.” There was polite applause all around, echoing strangely off the brick building faces, they grimaced slowly, but seemed disinclined to interfere. The Shadow handed me a pair of earplugs, which I considered but politely refused. One never knows where such things have been. I nudged my chair over the flat asphalt of the rooftop so as to better hear Sappho.
“You have always been more or less connected to the two seperate worlds. Well, now it’s returned the favor. We are all connected to you.” She picks up a Cosmo and began to absently finger through the ads.
I wasn’t sure what a Cosmo was, but for the moment it seemed content to have it’s pages turned. Perhaps it wasn’t hungry.
“Merlin would be pleased” I returned absently, I was sure I’d seen all of this on Melrose Place during one his Earth themed parties. But before I could track it down I was distracted by Little Red Riding Hood who was skipping up the stairs and across the roof. She, he?, whatever, turned to me and dropped their basket in my lap. “Grandmother will understand, considering the circumstances.” The Shadow put his hairy paw on my shoulder and lifted the red checkered cloth, peeking inside. “Delightful! Rich in Id, builds strong Egos.”
I moved his hand away and lifted off the cloth. The basket overflowed with memories, thoughts, considerations; the collective subconscious meanderings of Shadow. I set the basket down on the blanket, careful to avoid the grass, not wanting the ants to get into the universe via the back door.
That would be rude.
Sappho looked up from her magazine on the far side of the blanket. “Bit of a mess, but you’ll sort it out.” I reached in and poured everyone a glass of denial, Red declined, stating she was too young, and took a cup of nativity instead. I added a cherry to make her feel better.
“And of course we’ll all be here to help should things become confusing” echoed the Shadow casually. Red spread her dress carefully and sat neatly on the blanket, not wanting to get grass stains on the white gingham. The Shadow picked up a loaf of consternation from the basket, “Take this for example, the poor man, he’s just wracked with guilt. Over what is really unimportant, he barely knows himself. But feel the texture of the dough, it simply calls out to be sliced open and devoured.” Sappho glared at him over her magazine “For his own good, of course” finished the Shadow in oily tones.
“Everything is open to you” followed Red, adjusting the shiny leather straps on his corset. She rolled over, resting his hand absently on my inner thigh, the other reaching into the basket for a shiny red piece of impropriety. “Every sin, every thought, every weakness in the shadows are yours to examine in exquisite detail.” The weight of his, or was it her, hand was a spreading warmth on my leg and up my thighs. They grinned at me knowingly, their small pink tongue moving suggestively over perfect white teeth.
“But then one must take care not to loose one’s identity.” snapped Sappho, plucking the sunglasses off my face. Red looked up at me from her popsicle, carefully wiping her hands so as not to stain her frilly white smock.
“Control is important Ran, outside Chaos things will not be this easy. Shadow will be there and we will help you, but some of us have differing agendas.” she cast a hard glare at the Shadow who smiled and shrugged indifferently “You can ask us componets of yourself for help and information and we will retrieve it for you as best we can. But be cautious, the information retrieved decides the Aspect that serves you, and in some cases you might get more than you asked for.”
The Mother plucked nervously at her frayed robe, “Shadow is hungry, and will feast on those who can not control it.”
“Either way Ran, its really your choice” Sappho finished, pulling out a perfume sample and absently sniffing it.
“We can help you in many ways” continued the Shadow, as Sappho continued to compare delicately scented samples. “Shadow is powerful under a mind as honed as yours, the Logrus can force its perspective on the lesser world, altering aspects and appearances, moving and changing the what is.”
“You can do important things” the Mother interrupted, adjusting Red’s hair ribbons. “You can help others, you can make us Proud of You.” “Quite” responded the Shadow, moving between me and the slightly frantic Aspect. The thousands of children under her cloak glared up at him, annoyed.
“The most important thing is that you recognize the power you hold, its potential.”
I leaned back on the couch, enjoying the familiar sight of my den. Attempting to absorb what was being related to me. Sappho looked up from the mantle and her examination of the various nic-nacs I keep there. “I don’t really remember the Logrus.” “That’s alright,” she returned, “You won’t remember all of this. All of it will come to you over time. But your subconscious knows what’s going on now and it will guide you, as I will, and the others.”
“Go to sleep now, you need to wake up and get on with things.”
To my surprise, I noticed I was rather tired. My eyes slowly closed as I watched Sappho move through the stage of my intellect, straightening this, dusting that. “Good night Ran, we will speak again.”
From the stage bright lights shine down in a glaringly random pattern, blinding everyone, but illuminating little. Sappho, the Shadow and I sit in the front in comfortable chairs, well padded but colored an unfortunate yellow. The Investigator moves from Guest to Guest, asking pointed but relevant questions that none of us can hear. She has started in the back and is working her way forward. Surely she will be here shortly, having less than a thousand to go.
I gaze out on the audience. Oh they applaud when the sign comes on, but I suspect their heart really isn’t in it.
The Investigator has moved on to the Shadow now; who is easily holding her at bay with vague non-committal statements. I slide my chair across the stage a few inches to be closer to Sappho, who was examining her fingernails with suspicion.
“Pushy, isn’t she”
“Well of course she is Ran, the Need to Know is a basic one, besides, your very curious right now and that’s given her a lot of power.” She pulled out a bottle of polish and began to correct some small flaw in her manicure. “Your processing dear, she’s just here to help.”
Satisfied with her spot repairs, Sappho offers me some popcorn from her bag. Its plain, which I don’t care for, but I take some out of politeness. “I really don’t know that I understand all of this.” “Of course you don’t” she responds, looking at me directly, “you probably never will entirely. Now watch the show.” I dutifully return my attention to the stage; our seats are near the front and provide fairly clear view.
“I am not in right now, please leave a message and I will have I get back to you when I have returned.”
There is a pregnant pause as we all wait for the message, it’s intrusive but it gives people a chance to get up and use the restroom.
The silver form of Victor marches across the stage, his makeup is badly applied, but everyone knows he’s just the understudy and no one wants to make him feel bad about it.
“I don’t recall him being in the program.” I mention as an aside. “Neither does he, so it’s understandable.” Sappho responds distractedly, although she’s clearly examining the credits as closely as I am. “Check the third act, he’s just on early.” The audience nods their heads sagely, it’s a small company and a linear plotline was probably too much to expect anyway.
The Shadow has kicked the silken sheets off the two of them, providing an unobstructed view. The spotlights pick up flashing high tones in their two entwined forms. I hear a sharp intake of breath behind me as the Mother clucks under her breath and moves to cover the eyes of her many children.
“Do you feel it?” the Shadow croons to the prostate Investigator. “Of course,” she snaps back. “We all do, someone is sending mail from our post office box.” Her fingers run shallow rivulets across the ebony flesh of his back.
“Seems a wee bit graphic.” I casually noted to Sappho, who skims the advertisements with interest and then responds sagely, “Well, that’s to be expected, Power has a tendency to breed Suspicion.”
“We can hunt them to increase our power.” challenged the Shadow, riding the arcing ridge of his climax. “Fool” spits the Investigator, “The hunt works both ways, we can draw their power to us, but they might do the same. They have tried it before, they will again. We see them out there, waiting for us, hungry for our power.” Her hand moved in a slow circle revealing a circle of shadowed men and women, standing around the bed, watching, waiting.
“Then we will simple ambush them in turn” growled the Hunter rising from on top of narrowed eyed Investigator, his weapon clad form dripping sweat, staining the pristine white silk of the bed. His gaze moves around the room, the shadows dispelling under the heat of his gaze. “Fool!” scowls the Investigator, “You are of no use to us.” She rises from the bed, pauses a moment to stare disdainfully at the Hunter’s manhood and then adjusts her pant-suit and strides off the stage..
“Suspicion is rarely satisfied.” notes Sappho sympathically.
The Curator glares as I linger on one of the better pieces, I think the representation of Marcus is probably best, but the blood is unfortunate, no one likes bleeding on their epic moment. He pauses and Kevin’s stuttering voice fills the room. “It’s the best I could do, given the lack of proper paint.” All the guest take a moment to turn and stare, understandably, the guest list is exclusive and gate crashing is frowned upon.
“Apparently time isn’t the only thing he’s come unstuck from Ran” Sappho comments thoughtfully. She’s always around when the weird things happen; sometimes I suspect she plans it that way. “He’s not meant for this much order, it will destroy him eventually.” I can’t help but agree, but it’s hard to be sympathetic when someone is leaving a trail of candy wrappers across your collective subconscious.
Sappho moves around to watch me at work. Making color suggestions here and there. However, besides her the Scholar paces, her heels clicking a regular pattern on the wooden floor. “You hold knowledge that could mold him into something useful,” she starts, pausing a moment to rap the Shadow lightly on his knuckles as he turned to comment. “Let’s see if we can create something a wee bit more productive than the next ‘Danielle Steel’ novel, shall we?”
I thought her comments a bit critical given that I had just started on this particular endeavor but had to grant that it wasn’t the masterpiece I’d been hoping for. The Shadow rests a casual arm around my shoulder, keeping a wary eye on the Scholar but she appears distracted by other exhibits. “It’s all in the hand, the …stroke..” he confides, “You’re too gentle with your sculpting.”
His dark hand reaches around me to my admittedly lopsided pot and stretches the clay on the wheel, lifting it to a graceful tapering height. “There you are, exactly what you need, when you need it.” “Yes” Sappho agrees, “The form is lovely, but you’ve wasted a rather lot of clay.” She points to a small pile next to the wheel; the ragged corpses dragged their maimed limbs as they struggle to escape the Mother’s briskly wielded broom. “What will you use to build your next project?”
“Waste not, Want not!” the Mother notes primly, and I had to concede she had a point, although the towers of clay around us seemed to trivialize it somewhat. “It’s really quite simple Ran,” Sappho said, arranging the new vase on its pedestal, “you have to decide what’s more important to you, the clay or the pot.”
The educational video flickers annoyingly against the wall as the Scholar goes over the finer points, he’s just repeating what the film is saying but creativity has never been his forte and no one wants to hurt his feelings.
“This film is remedial” Sappho notes. The desks were all too small and I’m not sure the Gin and Tonic is classroom appropriate. However, given the shadowpuppets the Shadow is making with his genitals against the walls it seemed pointless to bring it up.
Red is passing notes with the Harlot, given the blanched look on her face I suspect they are more education than the film.
“He insisted. Given the various assassinations attempts recently, I can understand his concern.”
The Investigator is interviewing the construction paper letters decorating the wall, most are cleared quickly but ’y’s ambiguous statements about it’s vowel status are peaking her interest and the given how the other letters are slowly moving away it’s only a matter of time before he cracks.
“Possibly” she acknowledged distractedly, “but I’m not sure how a film on negotiation tactics is relevant to being packaged and thrown off a cliff.” “Perhaps we’re expected to talk our way out next time.” I retorted, but her raised eyebrow let me know she wasn’t buying it any more than I was. The Scholar continued bravely, it wasn’t really his fault, something had happened recently that left a lot of the filing system scrambled and we were still getting it sorted out.
The Guardian of the Sphere Memory took a moment to flash several sets of mismatched teeth and everyone made a point of paying attention elsewhere, not the film, but a different elsewhere. No one was quite sure what the Sphere was, but no one was curious enough to annoy the Guardian in an attempt to find out. Given that it’s malicious intent so far seems limited to missfiling, I was willing to let it go for now.
The Scholar pulled up the screen, allowing sunlight to stream in between the trees. It was a rather abrupt way to wake up but everyone put on a good show for his sake.
The grass was a little high for a brisk stroll, but Amber entities seemed to be very task driven and we were all practicing.
The Investigator offered a small platter of connudrums, Sappho waved her off but I can’t resist the filling, it’s different every time. “We should go speak to Kevin.” She insisted. “We can’t, he’s still in captivity.” Sappho responded for me, as I was still gnawing on mystery. “Speak to him later then.” the Investigator replied suspiciously, clearly wondering at Sappho’s evasions.
“Linear Time” everyone shouted in unison, well almost, the Masked Lady was trailing a bit but it always takes some time for the new ones to catch up.
The Investigator waved off the consensus, which I thought was a bit rude given the cliff and not all of them being able to fly and continued. “Kevin is the key, understand why he is wanted and what he does and everything else will come easily.”
The Harlot giggled a bit but the Investigators points still was valid. Kevin was… interesting. In a way most of Amber was not. “Well, it got a bit more festive once you figured out who was the furniture,” Sappho pointed out. “but the point remains, doing odd jobs for the King may be public service minded, but Kevin is actually interesting.”
“And possibly delicious.” the Shadow added, grinning in anticipation.