See one coronation and you've  seen  them  all.  Sounds  cynical  and
probably is, especially when the principal is your  best  friend  and  his
queen's your inadvertent lover. But there's genetally a procession, with a
lot of slow musie, and uncomfortable, colorful  garb,  incense,  speeches,
ptayers, the ringing of  bells.  They  are  tedious,  generally  hot,  and
requiring of one an insincere attention, as  at  weddings,  commencements,
and secret initiations.
     And so Luke and Coral became the sovereigns of Kashfa,  in  the  same
church where we'd fought almost-but, unfortunately, not quite-to the death
with my mad  brother  Jurt  but  a  few  hours  before.  As  Amber's  only
representative at the event-albeit of,  technically,  unofficial  status-I
was accorded a ringside standing-place, and eyes were  often  drifting  my
way. So I had to keep alert and mouth appropriate responses. While  Random
would not permit formal status to my presence at the ceremony, I knew he'd
be irritated if he heard that my behavior  was  less  than  diplomatically
sound.
     So I wound up with hurting feet, a stiff neck, and colorful  garments
soaked with sweat. That. s show biz. Still, I wouldn' t have  had  it  any
other way. Luke and I go back through some of the damnedest times,  and  I
couldn't help but think of them-from sword. s point to track  meets,  from
art galleries and into Shadow-as I stood there  sweIteting  and  wondering
what would become of him now he wore  a  crown.  Such  an  occurrence  had
changed my uncle Random from  a  happy-go-lucky  musieian,  footloose  and
degenetate, into a sage and  responsible  monarch-though  I.  ve  only  my
reIatives. teports when it comes to  knowing  about  the  first.  I  found
myself hoping it wouldn' t mellow Luke out all that much. Still-again-Luke
was a very different person than Random,  not  to  mention  ages  younger.
Amazing what years can do, though-or is it just the nature  of  events?  I
reaIized myself to be a lot different than I had been  not  so  very  long
ago, from all that had happened to me recently. A lot different  than  I'd
been yesterday, come to think of it.
     During the recessionaI Coral managed to pass me a note,  saying  that
she had to see me, giving a time and a place, even including a small  map.
It proved an apartment to the rear  of  the  paIace.  We  met  there  that
evening and wound up spending the night She and Luke had been  martied  as
kids, by proxy, I learned then, part of the diplomatic artangement between
Jasra and the Begmans. It didn't work  out,  though-the  dipIomatic  part,
that is-and the rest kind of fell by the wayside. The principals had  sort
of forgotten about the marriage, too,  till  recent  events  served  as  a
reminder. Neither had seen the other in yeats. Still,  the  record  showed
that the prince had been married. While it was an  annuIlabIe  thing,  she
could also be crowned with him. If there were anything in it for Kashfa.
     And there was: Eregnor. A Begman queen on the  Kashfan  throne  might
help smooth over that particular real estate grab. At least, that had been
Jasra' s thinking, Coral told  me  And  Luke  had  been  swayed  by  this,
partieularIy  in  the  absence  of  the  guarantees  from  Amber  and  the
now-defunct Golden Circle Treaty had held.
     I held her.  She  was  not  well,  despite  what  seemed  an  amazing
post-operative recovery. She wore a black patch over her right eye and was
more than a little reactive should my hand stray  near  it-or  even  if  I
looked at it for too long. What might have  led  Dworkin  to  replace  the
damaged eye with the Jewel of Judgment, I could not even guess. Unless  he
somehow considered her proof against the forces of  the  Pattern  and  the
Logrus in their attempts to recover it. My expertise in this area, though,
was nonexistent. Having finally met the  diminutive  mage,  I  had  become
convinced of his sanity-though this feeling in no way served to  penetrate
those enigmatic qualities that ancient wise men tend to possess.
     "How does it feel?" I asked her.
     "Very strange," she replied. "Not pain exactly. More like the  way  a
Trump contact feels. Only it's with me all the time,  and  I'm  not  going
anywhere or talking to anyone. It's as if I'm standing  in  some  sort  of
gateway. Forces are moving about me, through me."
     In an instant I was at the center that was the  gray  ring  with  its
wheel of many-spoked reddish metal. From the inside, here, it was  like  a
great web. A bright strand pulsed for my attention. Yes, it was a line  to
a very potent force in distant Shadow, one that might be used for probing.
Carefully, I extended it toward the covered jewel  she  wore  in  her  eye
socket.
     There was no immediate resistance. In  fact,  I  felt  nothing  as  I
extended the line of power. An image came to me of  a  curtain  of  flame,
however. Pushing through the fiery veil, I felt my  extension  of  inquiry
slowing, slowing, halted. And there I hovered, as it were, at the edge  of
a void This was not the way of attunement, as I understood it, and  I  was
loath to invoke the Pattern, which I understood to be a part of  it,  when
employing other fotces. I pushed forward and  felt  a  terrible  coldness,
draining the energies I had called upon.
     Still, it was not draining the energy directly from me, only from one
of the forces I commanded I pushed it farther, and I beheld a faint  patch
of light like some distant nebula. It hung against a background  the  deep
red of port wine. Closer still, and  it  resolved  itself  into  a  form-a
complex, three dimensional  construct,  half-familiar-which  must  be  the
pathway one takes in attuning oneself  to  the  Jewel,  from  my  father's
description. All right, I  was  inside  the  Jewel.  Should  I  essay  the
initiation?
     "Go no further," came an unfamiliar voice, though I realized it to be
Coral w'ho was making the soiinds. She  seemed  to  have  slipped  into  a
trance state. "You are denied the higher initiation."
     I drew back on my ptobe, not eager liir any demonstrations that might
come my way along  it.  My  Logrus  sight,  which  had  remained  with  me
constantly since recent events in Amber, gave me a  vision  of  Coral  now
fully enfolded and penetrated by the higher version of the Pattern.
     "Why?'. I asked it.
     But I was not vouchsafed a reply. Coral gave  a  little  jerk,  shook
herself, and stared at me.
     "What happened?" she asked.
     "You dozed off," I replied. "No wonder. Whatever  Dworkin  did,  plus
the day's stress..."
     She yawned and collapsed back on the bed.
     "Yes," she breathed, and then she was really asleep.
     I pulled off my boots and discarded my heavier garments. I  stretched
out beside her and drew a quilt over us. I was  tired,  too,  and  I  just
wanted someone to hold.
     How long I slept I do not know  I  was  troubled  by  dark,  swirling
dreams. Faces-human, animal, demonic, moved about me, none ofthem  bearing
particularly cheerful exPressions. Forests fell and burst into flame,  the
ground shook and split, the waters of the sea rose in gigantic  waves  and
assailed the land, the moon dripped  blood  and  there  came  up  a  great
wailing. Something called my name.
     A great wind rattled the shutters till they  burst  inward,  flapping
and banging. In my dream, a creature entered then and came  to  crouch  at
the foot ofthe bed, calling softly to me, over and over. The  room  seemed
to be shaking, and my mind went back to  California.  It  seemed  that  an
earthquake was in progress. The wind rose from a shriek to a roar,  and  I
heard crashing sounds from without, as of trees falling, towers toppling.
     "Merlin, Prince of the House ol. Sawall, Prince of Chaos,  rise  up,"
it seemed to say. Then it gnashed its I. angs and began again.
     At the fourth or fifth repetition it struck me that I  might  not  be
dreaming. There were screams from somewhere outside, and steady pulses  of
lightning came and went against almost musical rolls of thunder
     I raised a ptotective shell before I moved, before I opened my  eyes.
The sounds were real, as was the broken shutter. So was  the  creature  at
the foot of the bed.
     "Metlin,  Merlin.  Rise  up,  Merlin,"  it  said  to  me-it  being  a
long-snouted,   pointed-eared   individual,   well-fanged   and    clawed,
ofagreenish-silver cast  of  complexion,  eyes  large  and  shining,  damp
leathery wings folded against its  lean  sides.  From  its  expression,  I
couldn't tell whether it was smiling or in pain. "Awaken, Lord of Chaos."
     "Gryll," I said, naming an old family servant from the Courts.
     "Aye, Lord," it replied. "The same as taught you the bonedance  game.
"
     "I'll be damned."
     "Business before pleasure, Lord I've followed the black thread a long
and horrid way to come calling."
     "The threads didn't reach this far," I said, " without an  awful  lot
of push. Maybe even not then. Do they now?"
     "It's easier now," he replied.
     "How so?
     "His Majesty Swayvill, King of Chaos,  sleeps  this  night  with  the
ancestors of darkness. I was sent to fetch you back for the ceremonies."
     "Now?"
     "Now."
     "Yeah Well, okay. Sure. Just let me get my stuff together.  How'd  it
happen, anyhow?"
     I pulled on my boots, donned the rest of my garments, buckled  on  my
blade.
     "I am not privy to any details. Of course,  it  is  common  knowledge
that his health was poor."
     "I want to leave a note," I said.
     He nodded.
     "A brief one, I trust."
     "Yes."
     I scrawled on a piece ofparchment  from  the  writing  table,  Coral,
Called away on family business I'll be in touch. and I laid it beside  her
hand
     "All right," I said. "How do we do this?"
     "I will bear you upon my back, Prinee Merlin, as I did  long  ago.  I
nodded as a  flood  of  childhood  memories  returned  to  me.  Gryll  was
immensely strong, as are most demons. But I recalled our  games,  at  Pit.
s-edge and out over the darkness, in burial chambers, caves, still-smoking
battlefields, ruined temples, chambers of dead sorcerers, private hells. I
always seemed to have more fun playing with demons than with my mother.  s
relatives by blood or marriage. I even based my main Chaos form  upon  one
of their kind.
     He absorbed a chair from the room's corner for extra  mass,  changing
shape to accommodate my adult size. As I climbed upon his elongated torso,
catching a firm hold, he exelaimed, "Ah, Merlinl What magics do  you  bear
these days?"
     "I've  theireontrol,  but  not  full  knowledge  oftheiressence,"   I
answered. "They. re a very recent acquisition. What is it that you feel?.'
     "Heat, cold, strange music," he replied. "Ftom  all  directions.  You
have changed."
     "Everyone changes," I said as he moved  toward  the  window.  "That's
life."
     A dark thread lay upon the wide sill. He reached out and  touched  it
as he launched himself.
     There came a great  rushing  of  wind  as  we  fell  downward,  moved
forward, rose. Towers flashed past, wavering. The  stars  were  bright,  a
quarter moon just risen, illuminating the bellies of a low line of clouds.
We soared, the castle and the town dwindling in  an  eyeblink.  The  stars
danced, became streaks of light.  A  band  of  sheer,  rippling  blackness
spread about us, widening. The Black Road, I suddenly thought. It is  like
a temporary version of the Black Road, in the sky. I glanced back.



     ...gassy smell tif city rose up about us. A few  pedestrians  glanced
upward, barely seeming to note our passage.
     Even as  we  flashed  across  a  river,  cresting  the  housetops  ol
suburbia, the prospect wavered and we passed over a  primordial  landscape
of rock, lava, avalanche, and shuddering ground, two active  volcanoes-one
near, one far-spewing smoke against a blue-green sky.
     "This, I take it, is a shortcut?" I said.
     "lt is the shortest cut," Gryll replied.
     We entered a long night, and at some point it  seemed  that  our  way
took us beneath deep waters, bright sea  creatures  hovering  and  darting
both near at hand and in the middle distance. Dry and uncrushed, the black
way protected us.
     "It  is  as  major  an  upheaval  as  the  death  of  Oberon,"  Gryll
volunteered.
     "Its effects are rippling across Shadow..."
     "But Oberon's death coincided with the re-ereation of the  Pattern,..
I said. "There was more to it than the death of a monarch of  one  of  the
extremes. "
     "True," Gtyll replied, "but now is a  time  of  imbalance  among  the
forces. This adds to it. It will be even more severe."
     We plunged into an opening in a dark mass of stone.  Lines  of  light
streaked past us. Irregularities w.ere limned in a  pale  blue.  Later-how
long. I do not know-we were in a purple sky, with no transition that I can
recall from the dark sea bottom. A single star gleamed far ahead. We  sped
toward it.
     "Why?" I asked.
     "Because the Pattern has grown stronger than the Logrus," he replied.
     "How did that happen?"
     "Prince Corwin drew a second Pattern at the time ofthe  confrontation
between the Courts and Amber."
     "Yes, he told me about it. I've even seen it. He feared Oberon  might
not be able to repair the original."
     "But he did, and so now there are two."
     "Yes?.."
     "Your father. s Pattern is also an artifact of order.  It  served  to
tip the ancient balance in the favor of Amber."
     "How is it you are aware of this, Gryll. when no one  back  in  Amber
seems to know it or saw fit to tell me?"
     "Your brother Prince Mandor and the Princess Fiona suspected this and
sought evidence. They presented their findings to your uncle. Lord  Suhuy.
He made several journeys into Shadow and became persuaded that this is the
ease. He was preparing his findings for  presentation  to  the  king  when
Swayvill suffered his final illness. I know these things  because  it  was
Suhuy who sent me for you, and he charged me to tell them to you".
     "I just assumed it was my mother who'd sent for me..."
     "Suhuy was certain she would-which is why  he  wanted  to  reach  you
first. What I have told you concerning your father. s Pattern is  not  yet
common knowledge."
     "What am I supposed to do about it?"
     "He did not entrust me with that information."
     The star grew brighter. The sky was filled with splashes oforange and
pink. Shortly, lines of green light joined them.  and  they  swirled  like
streamers about us.
     We raced on, and the configurations came to dominate the  sky  fully,
like a psychedelic parasol rotating slowly. The landscape became  a  total
blur. I felt as if a part of me dozed, though I am certain I did not  lose
consciousness. Time seemed to be playing games with my metabolism. I  grew
enormously hungry and my eyes ached.
     The star brightened. Gryll's wings took on a  prismatic  shimmer.  We
seemed to be moving at an incredible pace now.
     Our strand curved upward at its outer edges. The process continued as
we advanc.ed until it seemed we were moving in a  trough.  Then  they  met
overhead, and it was as if we  sped  down  a  gun  barrel,  aimed  at  the
blue-white star.
     "Anything else you're supposed to tell me?"
     "Not so far as I know."
     I rubbed my left wrist, feeling as  if  something  should  have  been
pulsing there. Oh, yes, Frakir. Where was Frakir, anyway? Then I  recalled
leaving her behind in Brand's apartment. Why had I done that? I - my  mind
felt cloudy, the memory dreamlike.
     This was the first time since the event  that  I  had  examined  that
memory. Had I looked earlier I would have known sooner what it  meant.  It
was the clouding effect of glamor. I had  walked  into  a  spell  back  in
Brand's apartment. I'd no way of knowing whether it had been  specifie  to
me or merely  something  I'd  activated  in  poking  about.  It  could,  I
supposed,  even  have  been  something  more  general,  enlivened  by  the
disasterpossibly even an unintentional side effect of something  that  had
been disturbed. Somehow I doubted the latter, however.
     For that matter, I doubted any generality about the business. It  was
just too right to have been a booby-trap Brand had left  lying  about.  It
had confounded a trained sorcerer, me. Perhaps  it  was  only  my  present
distancing from the vicinity of its occurrence that had helped to clear my
mind. As I reviewed my actions from the time of exposure I could see  that
I had been moving in something  ofa  haze  since  then.  And  the  more  I
reviewed the more I felt the spell to have been speeifically  tailored  to
enfold me. Not understanding it, I could not consider myself  free  of  it
with this knowledge either.
     Whatever it was, it had caused me to abandon Frakir without  thinking
twice about it, and it had caused me to  feel-well-strange.  I  could  not
tell exactly how it might have influenced, might still be influeneing,  my
thoughts and my feelings, the usual problem when one is caught up inside a
spell. But I didn't see how it could possibly have  been  the  late  Brand
himselfwho had set the thing up against such an  unpredictable  occurrence
as my having rooms next to his old ones years after his death, from  which
I would be prompted to enter his quarters in the disastrous  aftermath  of
an improbable confrontation between the Logrus and the Pattern in an upper
hall of Amber Castle. No, it seemed that someone else had to be behind it.
Jurt? Julia? It didn't seem too likely that  they'd  be  able  to  operate
undetected in the heart of Amber Castle. Who then? And could it  have  had
anything to do with that episode in the Hall of Mirrors? drew blanks. Were
I back there now I might be able to come up with a  spell  of  my  own  to
ferret out the one responsible. But I wasn't,  and  any  investigation  at
that end of things would have to wait.
     The light ahead flashed more brightly now, winking from heavenly blue
to baleful red.
     "Gryll," I said. "Do you detect a spell upon me?"
     "Aye, m'lord," he replied.
     "Why didn't you mention it?"
     "I thought it one of your own-for defense, perhaps."
     "Can you lift it? I'm at a disadvantage, here on the inside."
     " 'Tis too tangled in your person. I wouldn't know where to begin."
     "Can you tell me anything about it?"
     "Only that it's there, m'lord. Does seem rather heavy about the head,
though."
     "Could be coloring my thoughts a certain way, then?"
     "Aye, a pale blue."
     "I wasn't referring to your manner of petceiving it. Only to the pos-
sibility that it could be influencing my thinking."
     His wings flashed blue, then red. Our tunnel  expanded  suddenly  and
the sky grew bright with the crazy colors ofChaos. The  star  we  followed
now took on the  proportions  of  a  small  light-magically  enhaneed,  of
course-within a high tower of a sepulchral castle,  all  gray  and  olive,
atop a mountain the bottom and middle ofwhich had been removed. The island
ofstone floated above a petrified  forest.  The  trees  burned  with  opal
fires-orange purple green.
     "I'd imagine it could be  disentangled,"  Gryll  observed.  "But  its
unraveling be a bafflement to this poor demon."
     I grunted. I watched the streaking scenery for a few  moments.  Then,
"Speaking of demons..." I said.
     "Yes?"
     "What can you tell me about the sort known as a ty'iga?" I asked.
     "They dwell far out beyond the Rim," he replied, "  and  may  be  the
closest of all creatures to the primal Chaos. I do not believe  they  even
possess true bodies of the material sort. They  have  little  to  do  with
other demons, let alone anyone else...
     "Ever know any of them-uh-personally?"
     "I have encountered a few-now and then," he replied.
     We rose higher. The castle had been doing the same. A fall  ofmeteors
burned its way, brightly, silently, behind it.
     "They can inhabit a human body, take it over."
     "That doesn't surprise me."
     "I know of one who has done this thing, several times. But an unusual
problem has come up. It apparently took control of one  on  the  human.  s
deathbed. The passing of the human seemed to lock the ty'tga in plaee.  It
cannot vacate the body now. Do you know of any way it might eseape?..
     Gryll chuckled.
     "Jump off a cliff, I suppose. Or fall on a sword."
     "But what if it. s tied to its host so closely now that this  doesn't
free it?"
     He chuckled again.
     "That's the breaks of the game, in the body-stealing business."
     "I owe this one something," I said "I'd like to help her-it."
     He was silent for a time, then replied, "An older, wiser ty.iga might
know something about these matters. And you know where they are."
     "Yeah."
     "Sorry I can't be more help. They. re an old breed, ty'iga."
     And now we bore down upon that tower. Out roadway under the  shifting
kaleidoscope that was the sky  dwindled  before  us  to  but  the  tiniest
ofstreaks. Gryll beat his way toward the light in the window and I  peered
past him.
     I glanced downward. The prospect  was  dizzying.  From  some  distant
place a growling sound came up, as if portions of the  earth  itself  were
moving slowly against  each  other-a  common  enough  occurrence  in  this
vicinity. The winds beat at my garments.  A  strand  of  tangerine  clouds
beaded the sky to my left. I could make out  detail  work  in  the  castle
walls. I caught sight of a figure within the room of the light.
     Then we were very near, and then through the  window  and  inside.  A
large, stooped,  gray  and  red  demonic  form.  horned  and  half-scaled,
regarded me with elliptically pupiled yellow eyes. Its fangs were bared in
a smile.
     "Uncle!" I cried as I dismounted "Greetings!"
     Gryll stretched  and  shook  himself  as  Suhuy  rushed  forward  and
embraced me-carefully.
     "Merlin," he said at last, " welcome home. I regret the occasion  but
tejoice in your presence. Gryll has told you...?"
     "O the passing of His Highness? Yes. I'm sorry "
     He released me and stepped back a pace.
     "It is not as if it were unanticipated," he said. "Just the opposite.
Too much so, in fact. Yet there is no proper time for such an event."
     "True,"I replied, massaging  a  certain  stiffness  out  of  my  left
shoulder and groping in my hip pocket after a comb.
     "And he had been ailing for so long that I had grown used to  it,"  I
said. "It was almost as if he'd come to terms with the weakness."
     Suhuy nodded. Then, "Are you going to transform?" he asked.
     "It's been a rough day," I told him. "I'd as  soon  save  my  energy,
unless there's some demand of protocol."
     "None at all, just now," he repIied. "Have you eaten?"
     "Not recently."
     "Come then," he said. "Let's find you some nourishment."
     He turned and walked toward the far wall. I followed him. There  were
no doors in the room, and he had to  know  all  the  local  Shadow  stress
points, the Courts being opposite to Amber in this  regard.  While  it.  s
awfully hard to pass through Shadow in Amber, the shadows are like  frayed
curtains in the Courts-often, you can  look  right  through  into  another
reality without even  trying.  And,  sometimes,  something  in  the  other
reality may be looking at you. Care  must  be  taken,  too,  not  to  step
through into a place where you will find yourself in  the  middle  of  the
air, underwater, or in the path ofa raging torrent. The Courts w'ere never
big on tourism.
     Fortunately, the stuff of Shadow is so docile at this end of  reality
that it can  be  easily  manipulated  by  a  shadowmaster-who  can  stitch
together their fabrics to create a way. Shadowmasters are  technieians  of
Iocally potent skill, whose ability derives from the Logrus,  though  they
need  not  be  initiates.  Very  few  are,  although  all  initiates   are
automatically members of the Shadowmaster Guild. They. re like plumbers or
electricians about the Courts, and their skills  vary  as  much  as  their
counterparts on the Shadow Earth-a combination of aptitude and experience.
While I. m a guild member I'd much rather follow  someone  who  knows  the
ways than feel them out for myself. I suppose I should say more about this
matter Maybe I will sometime.
     When we reaehed the wall, of course, it wasn't there. It just sort of
grew misty and faded away; and we passed through the space  where  it  had
been-or, rather, a different analogous space-and we were  passing  down  a
green stairway. Well, it wasn't exactIy a stairway. It  was  a  series  of
unconnected green dises, descending in spiral fashion,  proper  riser  and
ttead distance apart, sort of floating there in the night air. They passed
about the exterior ofthe castle, finally stopping  before  a  blank  walI.
Before we reached that wall we passed through several  moments  of  bright
daylight, a briefflurry ofbIue snow,  and  the  apse  ofsomething  like  a
cathedral without an altar, skeIetons occupying pews at either hand.  When
we finalIy came to the wall we passed through  it,  emerging  in  a  large
kitchen. Suhuy led me to the larder and indicated I should help myself.  I
found some cold meat and bread and made myself a sandwieh, washing it down
with tepid beer. He nibbled at a piece of bread himself and  sipped  at  a
flagon of the same brew. A bird appeared overhead in full  flight,  cawing
raucously, vanishing again before it had passed the entire length  of  the
room.
     "When are the serviees?" I asked.
     "Redsky next, almost a whole turning off," he repIied  "So  you've  a
chance to sleep and collect yourself before then-perhaps."
     "What do you mean, 'perhaps'?"
     "As one of the three, you're under black watch. That's why I summoned
you here, to one of my places of solitude. ,, He turned and walked through
the wall. I followed him, still beating my flagon, and we seated ourselves
beside a still, green pool beneath a rocky overhang, umber sky above.  His
castle eontained places from all over Chaos and Shadow, stitched  together
into a crazy-quilt pattern of ways within ways. "And since  you  wear  the
spikard you. ve added resources for safety," he observed.
     He reached out and touched the many-spoked wheel of my ring. A  faint
tingling followed in my finger, hand, and arm.
     "U e, you were often given to cryptie utterances  when  you  wete  my
teacher," I said. "But I. ve graduated now, and I guess that gives me  the
right to say I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
     He chuekled and sipped his beer.
     "On refleetion, it always became clear," he said.
     "Reflection ." I said, and I looked into the pool
     Images swam amid the black ribbons beneath its surfaee-Swa~iII  lying
in state, yellow and black robes muffling his shrunken form, my mother, my
father, demonic forms, all passing and fading,  Jurt,  myself,  Jasra  and
Julia, Random and Fiona, Mandot and Dworkin, Bill Roth and  many  faces  I
did not know
     I shook my head.
     "Reflection does not clari~," I said.
     "It is not the function of an instant," he replied.
     So I retutned my attention to  the  chaos  offaces  and  forms.  Jurt
returned and remained for a long time. He was dressing  himself,  in  very
good taste, and he appeared to be telativeIy intact. When he finalI~ faded
there teturned one of the half-famiIiar faces I had seen eatIier,  I  knew
he was a noble ofthe Courts, and I searched my memory.  Ofeourse.  It  had
been a long while, but now I recognized him. It was Tmer, of the House  of
Jesby, eIdest son of the late Prince Rolovians, and now  lord  himself  of
the Ways of Jesby-spade beard, hea~ brow, stutdily built, not  unhandsome,
in a rugged sort of wayl by all report a brave and possibly even sensitive
f~llow.
     Then there was Prince TubbIe of the Ways ofChanicut, phasing back



     ...and forth between human and swirling demonic forms Placid,  heavy,
subtle; centuries old and very shrewd he wore a fringed beard,  had  wide,
innocent, pale eyes, was master of many games.
     I waited, and Tmer followed Jurt followed Tubble into vanishment amid
the coiling ribbons. I waited longer, and nothing new occurred.
     "End of reflection," I announced at last. "But  I  still  don't  know
what it means."
     "What did you see?"
     "My brother Jurt," I replied, " and Prince Tmer of Jesby. And  Tubble
of Chanicut, among other attractions
     "Most appropriate," he responded. "Entirely appropriate."
     '.And so?"
     "Like you, Tmer and Tubble are both under black watch.  l  understand
Tmer is atJesby, though I believeJurt has gone to  earth  somewhere  other
than Dalgarry. ,.
     "Jurt's come back?"
     He nodded.
     ..He could be at my mother's Fortress Gantu," I mused "Or, Sawall did
have a second stead-the Ways of Anch, at the very Rim."
     Suhuy shrugged.
     "I do not know," he said.
     "But why the black watch-for any of us?"
     "You went off into Shadow to a fine university," he said, "  and  you
have dwelled in the Court of Amber, which I would deem highly educational.
Therefore, I bid you take thought. Surely, a mind so well honed-"
     "I realize the black watch means we face some sort of danger..."
     "Of course."
     "...But its nature eludes me. Unless..."
     "Yes."
     "It has to do with Swayvill' s death. So it must involve some sort of
political settlement. But I' ve been away. I don' t know what matters  are
hot just now."
     He showed me row upon row of worn but still nasty fangs.
     "Try the matter of the succession," he said.
     "Okay. Say the Ways of Sawall are supporting one possible  successor,
Jesby the other, Chanicut the other. Say we're  at  each  other's  throats
over the matter. Say l've come back into the  middle  of  a  vendetta.  So
whoever's giving the orders right now has declared us  under  watch  as  a
matter of keeping things from getting messy. I appreciate it."
     "Close," he said, "...but it's already gone further than that."

     I shook my head.
     "I give up," I said.
     From somewhere there came up a wailing sound
     "Think about it," he replied, "while I welcome a guest."
     He rose and stepped into the pool, vanishing immediately.
     I finished my beer.



     ...possess true bodies of the material sort. They have little  to  do
with other demons, let alone anyone else...
     ''Ever know any of them-uh-personally?.''
     "I have encountered a few-now and then," he replied.
     We rose higher. The castle had been doing the same. A fall  ofmeteors
burned its way, brightly, silently, behind it.
     "They can inhabit a human body, take it over."
     "That doesn't surprise me.'.
     "I know of one who has done this thing, several times. But an unusual
problem has come up. It apparently took control of one  on  the  human.  s
deathbed. The passing of the human seemed to lock the ty'tga in plaee.  It
cannot vacate the body now. Do you know of any way it might eseape?..
     Gryll chuckled.
     .'Jump off a cliff, I suppose. Or fall on a sword."
     "But what if it. s tied to its host so closely now that this  doesn't
free it?"
     He chuckled again.
     "That' s the breaks of the game, in the body-stealing business."
     "I owe this one something," I said "I'd like to help her-it."
     He was silent for a time, then replied, "An older, wiser ty.iga might
know something about these matters. And you know where they are..'
     "Yeah."
     '.Sorry I can't be more help. They. re an old breed, ty'iga..'
     And now we bore down upon that tower. Out roadway under the  shifting
kaleidoscope that was the sky  dwindled  before  us  to  but  the  tiniest
ofstreaks. Gryll beat his way toward the light in the window and I  peered
past him.
     I glanced downward. The prospect  was  dizzying.  From  some  distant
place a growling sound came up, as if portions of the  earth  itself  were
moving slowly against  each  other-a  common  enough  occurrence  in  this
vicinity. The winds beat at my garments.  A  strand  of  tangerine  clouds
beaded the sky to my left. I could make out  detail  work  in  the  castle
walls. I caught sight of a figure within the room of the light.

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