Friday, February 1, 2008

An Amber Vignette

I know Jeremy thinks I spend far too long prepping stuff for RPGs, but sometime it results in cool little things like this transcript of a "cut scene."

Let’s play make believe. You are Random, King of Amber.

Years ago, you collaborated with Fiona and Bleys. You gained the throne and they got to slowly change the nature of the Pattern, so that balance was restored, and their relatives in chaos [via Clarissa] are free to set foot in Amber without fear of [order-induced] illness. This put and end to Oberon & Dworkin’s domineering choke-hold on cross-shadow transportation. Then some damn nephew of yours [a PC] accidentally broke the tool that Fiona used (to not only tune the Pattern and redirect the nature of the universe, but also) to control Dworkin’s mind. Her influence on these things is now undone, and all is beyond control. Oops!

Several battles later, you are saving Fiona and her son [another PC] from Dworkin and those loyal to him, when you realize you’ve walked into a trap. You trump your wife, Vialle, hoping she can pull you to a place of at least temporary safety. But as you are reaching her, Dworkin reaches you.

You awake: gagged, bound, blindfolded, and psyche-barred. About the only sense allowed to you is hearing. And indeed, you hear Dworkin’s voice, relishing every minute of his victory. But he’s not talking to you.

“Your husband has failed you in several important ways, water-breather. He has failed to protect, allowing first your injure by the Hepanians [a minor NPC threat from the Golden Circle], and now by drawing you into the trap set for him. A more noble man would have sacrificed himself to defend you.”

Someone, presumably your wife, is struggling against restraints not far from you. You can hear her motion, but you can’t reach her. You can’t see her. You can’t call for help. It’s your fault she’s there. You can’t even speak to make threats or to lay your bloodcurse on Dworkin, who is continuing to harass your wife:

“Second, he has failed to provide you with a child, when surely, as King and an Amber Royal, he could have summoned or created the greatest of fertility specialists, or at least found an environment conducive to your conceiving. But, no. Instead, he favors his heir by the most recent woman he abandoned, Lady Morganthe.”

He laughs ever so slightly, Her anguish is muffled to a whisper by the gag.

“Lastly, and most reprehensibly, he has failed in that which is, by all accounts, the only flaw to that beautiful frame of yours. He has failed to give you eyes, so that you might see.”

“He knows that all his many brothers remember well the laws of physics and biology they learned as youths playing with their blades. Tissue rejects others tissue in Amber. This, coincidentally, is what prevents shapeshifting there, what held away the hordes of chaos for so many eons previous, and provided protection for us all. It also prevents transplants from holding stable on the Real World.”

“He and his red-headed conspirators changed that rule with all the others they rewrote to help their chaotic allies. He knew that it really was in his power to gift you with sight, but to do so would reveal his handiwork to his family. Even Gerard would see that something had changed if suddenly a mere Rebman commoner could hold a transplant in Amber. Too much for coincidence, after all. It would show your husband for the traitor he is. And so, you were not given that greatest gift, because your husbands love for you is insignificant compared to his fear of his brothers.”

“I, however, fear no one. I also hold no one responsible for the actions taken by those who have used them for their own pleasures. That’s why I have these.”

You hear the sound of a container being wrenched open, pressurized so it releases a hiss of gas and unidentifiable odor. Her struggling stops.

“I’ll give you what he wouldn’t, Vialle. Eyes that see and work in Amber, so you can behold the scheming pathetic little backstabber you call mate. It’ll take but a few minutes to implant the lenses and within an hour they’ll be permanent.”

It doesn’t matter how hard you throw yourself against the restraints or scream through the gag, they won’t budge and you can’t make yourself heard over Dworkin.

“I don’t even ask for anything in return. This is purely for altruistic reasons. I just want you to feel loved, Vialle, like someone really cares for you, ...since obviously your husband doesn’t.”

(Dworkin, when he's playing the villain's part, is my favorite Amberite to portray. I present him eccentric and goofy any time he's not the badguy, so that when the tables turn, he can get damnably creepy and nasty. He's your dottering old senile grandfather, whom you never expected to be a scheming psychopath.)

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