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Faith meets Charles in Charlottesville during his hazing, all naked and painted blue. The two click real well, deciding to barter Charlie's talents as a local tour guide against those of Faith in the getting chicks department. Eventually, from all this chick getting, an Octopus explodes.
In hospital Faith is recognized by a dying old and somewhat familiar Latverian speaking army-type sent by the queen to protect Charles from a would-be assassin named Corey. Faith speaks to his only remaining relative (someone who has never even heard of Latveria) who takes them to Jack's home, and shows them the letter his uncle has left him, along with a huge bunch of photographs taken over many years (mostly of Charles, some of Faith, some of other people), a Latverian ring, a Latverian dagger and a Latverian wallet with three pieces of True Art done on cards (see above):
Charles - in a rare display of character-player-knowledge rule - focuses on the mirror card and slips through. He finds that the mirror is standing in front of a torturing rack and can be turned to face the tortured. The door is bolted from the outside, and Charles tries to mickey the bolt or jimmy it or something. He makes much noise and a guard comes to check, asking him if he is John. when he turns out not to be John the guard asks to see his ring, and then settles for seeing his face. Charles tries to bully the guard, but the guard bitchslaps him. In the mean time, Faith draws a True Portrait of Charles and pulls him trough to the guard's assumed surprise.
Faith explains True Art to Charles and they decide to use it to skip town - supposedly harder to trace then a bus. While packing, they get jumped by a snake-man, and although Charles manages to run him trough the throat the incident strengthens their resolve. Extra strength is added when Faith discovers Larry the roomate dead on the toilet. Charles uses Faith's card to give him an image of the Empire State Building from his childoo, Faith paints it and they both go through. In NYC they buy a car and camping gear and go upstate. Then Faith draws a picture of a strange land, which he claims to be safe. They leave the car and trump to Avernus, where big red feline demi-humans hail them as God Brothers.
They live the good life. Charles does all the red chicks, and maybe a red dude or two before he learns how to tell the difference. After a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, a messenger from another camp comes to denounce Faith and Charles as impostors. Apparently there is another “God Brother” about, one who actually knows the local mythology (“Eric? From the comic shop? Lord of Evil?”). Faith demands to be taken to him, but he is already on his way, and with a lot of noise and BALAGAN Bleys rides into the camp. He explains about Eric and about the family and the Pattern and even shows them family photos. Faith recognizes mommy dearest and shows his own rendition. Also recognized is the Corey guy from John's trumps, whom Bleys calls Corwin and claims to be long missing. They decide to hang about an help Bleys raise an army to conquer Amber.
Bleys explains about shadow walking (with demonstration) and the Pattern. Charles is eager to go to Amber so that Faith can walk the Pattern, but Faith prefers to stay put for the time being (following Fiona's advice).
While Charles calls a meeting of his Generals, Faith confides in Bleys, who supports Fiona's advice.
So they stay and help raise the army and build the fleet, until they are awakened one night by a messenger from Bleys, telling them to leave quickly. As they prepare to leave, Shex comes and tells them there is talk that another god brother has joined Bleys, his brother Corwin. Charlie wants to take Shex with them, but Faith dissuades him, and takes them to Latveria, where they show up on the roof of the castle, overlooking the courtyard. They find some clothes to change into in an attic, and make their way down to Faith's quarters; while Faith goes to meet his father, his chambermaid Gudrun shows Charles around and tells him “we do not speak of the queen”.
The king invites Faith and his friend to dinner that night, which is attended by the visiting barons who have come to pay tribute (and complain). At the dinner they meet many barons, including Hagen and his beautiful wife Lady Gisel, Duke Weiland, and the witch-hating zealot Gunther.
Charles tells of the distant land he comes from and demonstrates his lighter, which he makes a gift of to the king. Gunther accuses him of witchcraft, but it does not come to blows. The Duke invites the prince and his foreign friend to join a hunting party he is hosting for the barons on his game preserve.
As the hunt commences (a day or two later), Faith, Charles and Hagen all find themselves up a rocky and wooded slope on the sides of a narrow gully, lying in wait for the wild boar which the huntsmen are supposed to flush out and direct in their general direction. Charles thinks he sees someone moving in the trees further up the slope, but before he can climb up to investigate, they hear the chase moving towards them in the gully below. As Hagen and Faith hurry down, a startled adult boar bursts out of the thicket and charges towards the Doore…
Charles dodges the charging Boar and puts his spear in its flank; as it moves towards Faith, the prince draws upon the Earth Power and throws his spear, striking the beast which collapses from its wounds a mere yard away from him. As Charles steadies himself and moves towards his kill, an arrow lands in the ground near him. Faith, ever-prepared for the eventuality of assassination attempts, drops to the ground, but Hagen is less aware of what is happening, and as he rushes back up to see if they are alright, he takes an arrow in the chest and crumples in a heap. Charles and Faith try to spot the shooter while taking cover from his barrage, but after a last burst, the shooting stops. Once this is clear, Charles scrambles up the hill to where the arrows came from, while Faith and newly arrived huntsmen tend to the mortally-wounded baron Hagen. Charles finds naught but a single discarded arrow to mark the marksman's covert. However, both Charles and Faith noted the archer wore a distinct green cloak, and Faith also recalled the unfashionable-yet-practical Burmese fold of his jacket. Of the hunting party, they seem to remember that both Count Gunther and Duke Weiland's son, Earl Magni, wore such distinct green cloaks.
Later at the hunters' camp, a tent is set up for the dying baron Hagen; Faith has his man Donar arrest a suspicious-acting earl called Sigismund who had clearly changed his cloak (and who wore a jacket like the shooter, and who was missing his bow). Wieland promises to investigate this “hunting accident” (Gunther and Magni, BTW, seem to have alibis). He tries his best to comfort Hagen and Lady Gisel, who won't leave the baron's side. It is determined that some of the hunting party will stay at the camp overnight, because Hagen can not be moved.
Charles offers to Gisel to use his foreign magic to help the baron; he asks that Faith and he be left alone with Hagen, but Gisel refuses to leave her husband's side. Charles tells her to be strong because it will be a terrifying experience, and Gisel says that she is willing to journey to hell to help her husband. Nodding knowingly, Charles begins an improvised ritual (he can be very dramatic), while Faith pulls out the painting of New York and takes all four of them there.
They show up on the rooftop, and Faith calms Gisel as she verges on hysteria, while Charles pounds on a neighbor's door and asks him to call an ambulance. This eventually arrives, and Hagen and Gisel ride the ambulance to Central Hospital, while Charles and Faith follow in a cab.
Hagen is admitted into emergency surgery, and the doctors even allow Gisel to remain with him during the procedure; Charles goes to buy stuff, Faith brings Gisel tea.
During Hagen's convalescence, Charles calls his parents and tells them not to worry (he's been missing for four months!), that he's taken a trip to Nepal and he needs to return soon. They tell him that he is wanted for questioning regarding the murder of his roommate, Larry. Also, that a girl - Samantha - called and left him a message, asking him to call her back. Charles goes on a shopping spree and also calls Samantha, who turns out to be Alice. They agree to visit her in Baltimore, because she has something urgent to tell them.
In their newly-acquired jeep, they drive to Baltimore and meet Alice (in an Apartment with the name “Corrado” on the door). This is recapped under Alice, but in the wrong tense to copy-paste it back, so go there.
They return to NY, pick up Gisel and Hagen, leave the jeep parked near the rooftop where they trumped in, and return to Latveria.
Later in Latveria, they question Sigsmund, who eventually breaks down and reveals that he carried out the assassination attempt at the behest of Weilend's faction because Magni is holding his daughter hostage.
Prince Faith struggles with the decision whether to make a move against Wieland or not. His instincts tell him to execute Magni and warn the duke to play nice if he wants to keep his other son, but his mother tells him to avoid this foolishness and lay low. By sheer cunning he manages to use his father and their troubled relationship to trap himself into having to do something. At first he wants to arrest Magni (but his soldiers would be hard pressed to carry out the arrest without starting a civil war), then he wants to challenge him to a duel (the King dismisses this as foolishness). Eventually, dad advises that only execution for charges of High Treason (impractical) or straightforward assassination will do.
Reality claims that Mother advises caution, but reminds Faith he must live with the consequences of whatever he decides. I think reality is tripping.
Meanwhile, Charles practices fencing with Donar and rotation with Gudrun, during which he learns some gossip about the queen - it seems that although she fell out of favor with the death of Faith's last surviving brother, the real break with the king only happened after she got pregnant by another.
While planning to order Magni's trail, Sigsmund is found murdered in his cell, by sorcery most foul.
Faith paints the great hall in Magni's castle, and they use it to travel there, where Charles rescues Sigsmund's daughters from the harem and Faith murders Magni. During this, Faith is wounded, and loses the trump of the mirror in the palace dungeon. Magni's warlock witnesses the murder.
Trumping to the palace roof, they head to NY, where the doctors patch up Faith, Charles stocks up on equipment and chats with Nurse Betty.
While leaving their jeep, an assailant jumps them but Charles shoots first. They put the jeep elsewhere and run.
Faith puts the dungeon guards on their guard on their return.
The next morning, Charles steps out for Archery practice. It is unreasonably quiet in the courtyard. And then he notices trails of frost creeping towards him across the ground.
Charles dashes away from the creeping frost and tries to find shelter by the wall, then creep up towards the source of this icy attack.
The courtyard is overrun with misty, barely visible frost imps. Climbing a watchtower to get a perspective on them, Charles finds 3 of these columns of moving frosty vapour. They attack him with icicles, wielded as swords and spears, and they prove solid when poked or cut, as with his machette. The cold pouring out of a wounded frost dude forms ice on the blade.
Charles shoots an arrow hitting the bell, alerting the guardsmen and jumps away, ducks into the guardroom at the base of the tower, and finds the guards all frozen to death. He catches his breath enough to pull out Faith's trump and gets his ass evacuated.
Meanwhile Faith notices something is wrong and tries to find servants and guards, assembling them in the Kitchens. The king can't be found in his apartments; reports arrived that the inner courtyard and parts of the outer wall and the dungeons are overrun by frost demons, and that Gunther is marshaling the palace forces to counterattack. Faith decides to summon the fire demons.
Faith performs a ritual and talks to the fire demons. They agree to help, in return for a sacrifice.
Faith takes a kitchen maid called Taja with him and goes to the palace doors, protected by ancient statues in the forms of a griffin and a dragon; holding Taja tenderly, he cuts her wrist and drains her blood into the mouth of the Griffin. Fire sparks within and the fire demons pour out, swarming about the palace and causing havoc (a servant catches fire and is devoured while trying to beat away the demons from a high window). Eventually, they clear the grounds completely from demons, and return to devour Taja's corpse, which the prince has laid on the palace stairs as if on a funeral bier. The demons reduce her body to ashes and vanish back through the mouth of the dragon.
Crisis averted, Faith finds that the king is still around, having hidden somewhere in the palace. Faith tells him that he suspects Arnulf may have used the Trump he took from Faith to gain entry to the castle (although Faith did specifically put the dungeon guards on their guard), where he had to be (according to the rules of magic) to launch his attack most foul. The King asks Faith how he plans to handle the Weiland problem now that the hornets' nest has been kicked, but the only thing that comes out of his mouth is “so it's all your fault, right?”.
There is a war council that night; Lady Gisel attends as Hagen's representative, voicing strong support for the prince. It is understood that Duke Weiland is leading his forces towards the palace.
Faith's plan, which he has outlined to the king on several occasions, was for Duke Weiland to “play nice” out of fear for his second son, Regin. To impress his point Faith wants to draw a trump of the cur, but Regin is that slippery kind of person that lurks in the shadow of such bold personalities as Duke Weiland and the arrogant Magni, so Faith conceives the plan of drawing the Duke himself and dragging in his sorry behind for some righteous kicking. Donar interjects that as far as he understood the way trumps work from his long time serving The Queen, that won't work - you can't use trump to bring someone through against their will. Faith decides to still go through with the drawing. He paints till his arms fall off and eventually produces a portrait of Duke Weiland called Treachery. After a long deserved sleep he contacts the Duke, who is riding with his men, apparently heading towards the royal Palace, and threatens the life of his remaining son. The Duke agrees to back down on the hostilities, and on the next day we learn that Duke Weiland has camped, and Gunthar was sent by the King to parley with him.
With this resolved (temporarily), Charles and Faith turn their attention to their other problems. Charles is very restless and wants to walk the Pattern (well, for Faith to walk it, at least, since he still believes himself to be shadow on some well hidden roleplaying level), so they can
escape their enemies have fun and adventures by going into shadow. Faith contacts his mother, who is riding in shadow, and tells him to come to her and bring Charles. By the time they get ready, they find her sitting by the embers of a dying campfire, at the edge of a forest. She has a snoring companion, their uncle Bleys.
They tell her everything, and she goes 'hmm' a lot, perhaps the only intelligent response to such peculiar events. She tells them that their uncle Corwin returned from an exile on the same shadow Charles came from (she had thought he might have planned to harm Charles, but apparently he had other plans). Corwin and Bleys lead an army against Amber together, but were defeated by Eric. Corwin was captured and thrown into the dungeons, Bleys escaped and joined Fiona. Now Eric rules in Amber, so it is too dangerous to send them their, but perhaps she can contact someone in Rebma… She considers her sister, Llewella, but then decides instead to call Random, her youngest brother who recently got forcefully married to someone in Rebma.
Fiona contacts Random; he is awake, sitting and playing cards on the edge of a huge bed, with a green-haired woman sleeping at the far side. After some curt pleasantries, Fiona introduces Faith:
“Random, this is Martin.”
Random greets “Martin” and Charles warmly. Faith tells him that he's lost his memory and hopes to restore it by walking the Pattern in Rebma. Random takes them to Martin's old apartments and tells them he'll talk to Moire, the queen of Rebma, in the morning to get her permission to visit the Pattern.
The two chums are impatient, however, and try to sneak to the Pattern that night. The way down to the Pattern is barred by a locked door and a pair of guards, and Charles tries to browbeat them aside. The situation gets tense, and is defused only by Faith's level-headed apathy and the arrival of the Sargent of the watch. The duo retreats to the kitchens, where Faith considers sending the guards a poisoned gift basket. The snooping Sargent's presence (and the logistics of preparing poison while immersed in breathable water) dissuades him of this course, and they grump off to bed.
The next morning, Random and Vialle, his blind bride, escort them to breakfast with the queen and Random's half-sister, the lady Llewella. Faith notices that he gets some significant glances from the ladies, who have identified him as not-Martin, but are keeping quiet. Meanwhile, Charles is introduced to the Rebman custom of flirting with the queen.
After breakfast, they head to the Pattern. Faith starts walking, and Charles jumps on too, figuring he also must be a PC. Moire trails Faith and asks him who he is. He brushes past her and keeps walking. As they progress, Faith sees Random arguing with the ladies. Reaching the center of the Pattern, they see Random crying, and he yells at Faith “Why did she lie to me??” just as Faith asks the center of the Pattern to take him to Corwin.
Charles arrives at the center a moment later and asks the Pattern to take him to his Father.
Faith appears in a dark and stinky cell, his clothes wet. There's a hairy and smelly Corwin there, his eyes destroyed by Eric's brand. Although some of Faith's art was ruined by the passage, he manages to find the drawing of Avernus intact, and striking a light, he takes Corwin there.
Charles appears in a dark and cramped cell, with some light for him to discern an older gentleman in a green robe and slippers sitting on a cot, whom he recognizes as the missing king Oberon. He introduces himself as Oberon's son. The king calls the guard (a scary nonhuman) and Charles shoots the guard in the head - which doesn't stop him. Oberon advises he aim for the torso. They head out, fighting their way to the edge of what turns out to be a castle on a floating, revolving rock, surrounded by smaller and faster flying rocks. They grab a rock and flee into shadow, pursued by guards who can follow them through the shifting realities. Eventually they reach a sea, dive in, fight the remaining pursuers in the water and head for the beach, where Oberon finds two horses waiting for them behind a small dune. They start riding and Charles begins to practice his shadow-shifting.
Meanwhile, Corwin instructs Faith on how to change shadow, and they head for some place with diners and cars. Corwin thinks they can find some hi-tech shadow where something can be done for his eyes (vat grown? cybernetics? something like that). They get a bath in a bar and a car. Charles with Oberon get to a Shadow with a lemonade-stand and girls in bikinis. Oberon goes to the bathroom to clean up, and then Charles contacts Faith. He wants to come through with Oberon, but Oberon is not around no more.
The blind Corwin, Faith and Charles drive through shadow to find Avalon. They notice they are “trailed” through Shadow by a black road. En-route pause to help some motorists fight off a wild biker gang, and rescue a woman heading for “the great refuge”. The bikers are bandits who trade with the demonic creatures coming in from the black road (“they want women”). The road itself - Charles gets to it's edge - seems to be alive with tendrillish grass.
The woman they rescue, Lorraine, leads them to the great refuge, a fort where a captain Brown has banded the survivors of an apocalyptic (nuclear) war together for protection against the black road mutant hordes. They head into the ruined city and raid a military bunker, where they pick up vat-grown eyes for Corwin and some explosives to blow up the road. However, they are ambushed by mutants while getting the explosives, and they trump out to Avernus just as the explosives go off.
Making their way back through Shadow, Faith, Charles and captain Brown arrive back at the great refuge, and spend some time there while Corwin adjusts to his grafted eyes. Then they head onwards once more through Shadow, until they run across a column of APCs, commanded by Corwin's brother, Benedict.
Resting in Benedict's mansion, our Heroes and their uncle indulge in a spot of shopping, with an interlude to help an amnesiac girl from Urda, pursued (or pursuing?) a shaggy centaur with a big halberd. Also, the Jewel of Judgement, a jump off a cliff, and Black Road Treasures bought in the Black Market. Note that among the shopping spree trophies are blank trumps, custom made with Faith's royal crest, Avalonian guns and a special sword made with black road “technology”.
In Urda, an attack by Hell Maidens from the Black Road ends in a tussle and chase where Charles loses his gear and his dignity. Faith meets the amnesiac princess Darlene, and together they learn of a dreadful plot by a relative. Also, they find their first Memory Rose.
The chums end up in Amber, Finally!. But the forces of chaos are at the gate, and Brand is at large with the jewel of Judgement! While Faith deepens his acquaintance with Darlene, Charles goes shopping with Flora, and on returning tries to contact the mysterious Jules, through the true art sketch created by Alice. Jules is distracted, driving, and tries to kill Charles by teleporting away on the highway. Charles survives using his kewl driving skillz, and tries to gather some wealth the easy way - by shadowing it - finding a bag of cash in a dumpster, and gets entangled with the fuzz and the mob, assumes a detective shield and identity, and runs away. He buys a used car, a Dodge Dart, and calls his folks, who tell him that a relative of John has been looking for him. Charles shadow shifts to a place where diamonds are a-plenty and gathers some wealth. On his return he visits John's relative and finds some new trumps belonging to Jack, John's uncle and agent of the Latverian queen. He steals the trumps, leaving some of his found diamonds as a barter and trumps to Jack's House. With the diamond money, he gets an assumed identity - Elvis Cedar1), and buys Jack's house in that name. After he settles down there, he goes and meets Alice and is joined by Faith, just as he discovers a trump of a Memory Rose, which appears and attaches to his hand, making him forget his name.
Faith find that Charles isn't just memory-lost, he seems to have a different personality (or rather, the same old personality, but with different goals). He tries to get advice from Fiona, but finds her hard pressed to help him. He takes Alice and the affected Charles into a safe house in Shadow. The altered Charles, who is sure he is an agent of Chaos, who is there to spy on Fiona can shapeshift, and was supposed to draw true-art as well, but can't. After much secret practice he manages to Shape Shift and adopts Alice's form for a while, as he is sure he is her. Or the Chaos Agent named Alix. He escapes, and Faith and Alice head to Latveria to try and stop him, as he eluded them to believe he was posing as Faith and probably heading there. They are contacted by Fiona - who has retreated from Amber, and who tells them that Brand has managed to walk the pattern with the Jewel - and together use trump to contact the Charles mesh-up personality. Meanwhile, Charles evading Faith by trumping to his secret safe house, has contacted Jules, AKA Zuul, and meets him in some coffeeshop in Charlottesville. Zuul tries to take the rose and kill Charles, dispelling the memory effect, but is jumped by Faith. Faith grabs Jules and trumps back to Fiona's, with the memory rose; Charles, disposing of Zuul's backup, remains on Earth, and escapes the scene in the form of a police officer.
Faith trumps Charles in, who sees a comatose Jules. He relays to Fiona that Jules is Zuul, a chaos agent, and Fiona magic-holds him in place. 2) Charles tells Alice that she is actually Alix, a shape-shifting chaosite agent, sent to spy on Fiona, and should she get her memories back from the Memory-Rose, they might have a violent confrontation. They can destroy the rose, and Alice can continue to live a full life on earth. Obviously she chooses to restore herself, and consequences are not as bad as anticipated.
Charles tells Fiona and Faith about rescuing Oberon and discovers that Fiona's people had Oberon imprisoned. Charles leaves, confused and quite possibly angry (by trumping away to his earth safehouse). For awhile Charles is living large as Elvis Cedar, a life of Drunkenness and Debauchery, tracking across the states and ending in an LA mansion with his 3 female companions. Faith sends Charles a trump he's made, and tells him he should contact this guy, Merlin. Charles trumps this Merlin, who is apparently his son, as a party is being held in the mansion. Merlin has being conceived just a few months before, according to Charles' timeline. To Merlin about 20 years had passed. He thinks his father is a brave soldier and Charles tries to lower his sense of awe, telling to call him Charles and not Dad, and explaining that the sword Merlin got has been used it for a day or two before losing it to Merlin's mom. After shooting some cans with Merlin, the kid (who is as old as Charles, if not more) goes back to his home. Faith trumps Charles as a battle is being held.
Staring into the burning valley of Garnath, the defeat of Amber seems nigh. Corwin is shouting orders, all gung ho, but Charles is unimpressed. Instead, he offers to use his newly conceived contact in the Courts to negotiate peace. Charles uses the Trump Faith made of his son, who is revealed to be an old time pacifist. Merlin agrees to help, but requires a formal something from Amber, just so he won't get laughed at. Again. After much arguing, the best they can manage is the silver rose of the “future king of Amber”3), which is probably the only reason Corwin was willing to go with their plan.
Merlin (on hold throughout the argumenting) pulls them through to the wonderous landscape and slow time of the Courts. They begin to talk business, but then a chaosite shadowy chick named Khumatra (friend of Merl) interrupts. Faith exchanges some hasty flirts with her and finds himself on a lemkh, participating in the age-old tradition of a blood race architectured specifically to show that hers is longser than his. Charles gets Trumped and answers, assuming it's either Faith or Alice, the only two people who have his Trump, but nooooooo! It is Eric! Lord of EVIL! Charles divulges their location and (half of) their purpose there, which gets Eric's knickers in a bunch. Eric demands they get back to Amber this instant or else, so Charles hangs up immediately. After some more sport, Faith returns, gets updated by Charles, and gets chastised by his mother and then gets a Trump call from Eric, who again, demands them to return. Sending Merlin off with Corwin's rose, making sure they will not be prosecuted (for dealing with the enemy) they get Trumped to Amber. Eric scolds them some more, and they are sent to their rooms. Gerard meets them, and very militaristically assigns them to guard the pattern in Tyr. They are issued a Trump of Amber each, and personally a Trump of Gerard. They get their choice of weapons in the armory of Amber.
Waiting for dark, Faith starts to draw the Trump of Tyr's pattern chamber from Corwin's memory, but is interrupted when a guard comes to escort them to the staircase. Waiting at the bottom of the stairs, Faith completes the Trump just as Tyr materializes and they see before them the stairs.
Tyr is very confusing. Charles and Faith split up, each haunted by crap from his own life. Charles has a conversation with his black whip thingy, which freaks him enough to toss it into the Latverian Dungeon Trump, and Faith ends up killing his relatives. Again. True horror. Eric and Caine (, moon spirits of) confront them (Caine actually lets Charles pass, before he backstabs him for double damage), which ends with a wounded Charles and a a mechanomagical porcelain “Hand of Prince of Evil” that is somehow real (all else is moonshadows). They guard the Pattern with no incident except for the occasional and annoying “Help” sounds in the background, and the fact that Charles can't Trump Latveria to get his favorite weapon back (“suckered by Tyr, I was”) until - as the moon hides her face - Gerard Trumps them (yes, everyone has our Trumps). Faith goes through, but Charles, still unable to part with his black whip thingy gives Latveria a last try, and falls. And Trumps to Amber. And tries again (“Persist persist persist”).
In Latveria, on the dungeon's floor, is the black glove (whip thingy). And it has taken root, and quickly flowered into the incarnation of The Black Road in Latveria.