Year 6, December 29, at around 6PM.
The library in Castle Amber is a large and somewhat labyrinthine room featuring multiple levels, moveable ladders, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves all arranged haphazardly, as if the architect had meant to construct a maze but never quite finished. In the daytime, a network of skylights and mirrors illuminates the room; at night (which it currently is), a collection of fireplaces and hooded lanterns illuminates the room through the same network of mirrors. Those attuned to such things may note that quite a lot of sorcery has been expended on fireproofing the room; apparently someone is a bit paranoid about having flames and books in any sort of proximity.
There are, also, a number of reading tables; Alys sits at one on a small balcony on (roughly) the second floor that's only accessible via ladder. Well... ladder, or wings, as demonstrated by the large raven with glowing red eyes lurking atop a nearby bookshelf and reading over her shoulder. Which is, of course, terribly rude (or at least the Raven thinks it is, not that that stops him.)
For a few minutes, Alys ignores the raven; finishing the chapter she was reading (in "A Brief History of Amber", by Tabodi Silverbar). Then she turns and gives the raven a Look.
"Caw, caw?" asks the raven. (Note: This is a raven saying "caw", not a raven cawing.) After a moment, he adds, "What, not even a smirk?"
"It's not a new trick to me." Alys blinks, and whatever Power she was using fades. "I am Lady Alystrakos Obsidia Sybaris. Who do I have the pleasure of addressing?"
"I am currently called Lord Raven." (Note: This may or may not be what anyone else calls him.)
The raven is apparently somewhat tongue tied. Or perhaps he is worried that Alys might eat him.
"Have you been here for long? I am trying to... catch up on local news."
"Not long, only a little longer than you... Maybe." (Note: Alys' question referred to time spent in Amber. The raven's answer referred to time spent in the library just now. These sorts of subtleties are generally apparent to characters with Amber level psyche.)
"Though," Alys turns her attention back to the book, "I suppose that's all relative anyway - by my standards, this place hasn't existed for very long. At least that makes the research simpler; I'm used to having to untangle centuries worth of history."
"Yes, this place is a fairly recent construction. Might have been why i ended up here and not... somewhere else."
"Oh, I'd be more likely to blame Dworkin for that. Ending up here is... I find it hard to imagine that such would fall to chance, shall we say."
"My journey here was certainly," the Raven tilts his head to one side, "direct."
"Yes, through the north tower, apparently. I've heard there's still a mark on the floor."
"Through?" Alystrakos raises an eyebrow. Perhaps the raven is able to spot the gesture through one of the room's mirrors. "That seems an odd description."
"Well, that's what this says, at least!" The raven pulls out an article describing his arrival. Oddly, it is typeset, as if from a modern newspaper.
"'Strange being found in north tower!' 'Damage to be repaired Tuesday' 'Raven thrown through stone walls!'"
"I do sometimes wonder what contraption i used to accomplish that."
"Certainly not anything local," Alys gestures at a few books on engineering that she hasn't put away yet, "Unless you started out weighing several tons, I suppose; then a trebuchet might be able to get that sort of impact."
"I presume you arrived here in a less destructive manner?"
"I walked. So, yes."
The Raven grins. "I suppose that way is easier, yes. I suppose a better question is to ask why you walked all the way to this castle?"
Alys looks at the Raven. "I suppose you're going to tell me it would have been faster to fly?" (Note: Alys is definitely avoiding the question, here. Again, anyone with a decent psyche would notice.)
"Well of course, really everyone should learn to do it."
Alys shakes her head. "When you're traveling through shadow, physical velocity is all but irrelevant. Flying would not have gotten me here any more quickly. And besides," she gestures towards the fireplace where a large dog is apparently napping contentedly amidst the flames, "Had I flown, how would Tinder have gotten his walk?" At the word walk, the dog's head snaps up, looking hopefully towards Alys.
"Ah, i see you had... companions. I suppose the exercise is important."
"Just Tinder. Well, for most of the journey; Dworkin did let me shortcut a fair ways at the end." Alys makes a gesture towards the dog that apparently translates as 'Not right now', and Tinder goes back to napping.
"So, what have you learned about this place so far?" Alys asks.
"That my crashing into the castle may have been the only thing around here that didn't further someone's agenda... or something like that."
"Whose agenda? Dworkin's?"
"Something like that. Though i suppose if it were less interesting i'd have drifted off by now."
"Mm. It certainly is that. Like..." Alys gestures to a few particular records, "...how little oversight Dworkin has actually bothered with. It seems he expects others to deal with such minor details as making sure the city runs smoothly."
"I wonder sometimes how anything here runs smoothly."
"I'd expect that's the work of the castle staff. And presumably Rebma and Ht'gon An-rit have equally competent cores; it's mostly just the city that's been left to run itself. ...And I suppose drawing the best and brightest into employ here may not have helped that. Or perhaps Dworkin is just cheating."
"The latter, more likely."
"I certainly would not put it past him."
The conversation drifts along in similar vein for a while, discussing Amber and recent history. Eventually - if nobody else shows up first - the Raven will get bored and wander off. Alystrakos, by contrast, intends to remain in the library all night, studying her new home.
(Note: Other characters can show up, either before or after the Raven has left. This is the same day Alystrakos arrived; she spent some time in her guest room before going to the library.)
The goings on of courts
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