Letter to Bran, delivered by Pattern magic:

Dearest Father,

It seems an age since this all began, but so much is happening. I am sorry I couldn’t come back and see you before I left. Luce and Hagan wanted to go and see Princess Deirdre…..actually I can’t remember why now. Something to do with the black road that’s suddenly shown up in Amber. Weirmonken. Jerks. They make things so complicated.

No, I’m getting this all out of order. First there was dinner at the palace. With the Queen, and some of the other family. Julia was nice, and she makes artifacts. I asked her about them, but I think she was tired, she didn’t talk very much. Should I call people Prince and Princess? Hagan doesn’t seem to, and I think Luce only does it to be annoying to other people. He has a quirky smile when he’s not quite being sincere. It’s cute, and I don’t think he know’s he’s doing it. Emil barely spoke to any of them, so I really don’t know what he does. But I’m getting off track. Caine was there, and Gerard. Caine was really nice and very chatty. Lara seems to know him. I like Lara. Gerard didn’t talk very much either. Maybe he was tired too. He’s very athletic looking, he probably had a very exhausting gym session before dinner. Maybe I should ask him where the gym is, I should probably make time to keep fit, especially if I’m going to be running around fighting dragons and things. I didn’t speak to the Queen. But that’s ok. Queens can do what they want, and they scare me a little.

Oh, I made an artifact for Emil. It’s a really good one too. He liked it, and hopefully it will work really well when we go and look at the black road. And we found his dad too!!! It was right after we met the Queen at the palace. Our Palace I mean, and Queen Moire, not Queen Erica. Emil wanted to see the pattern room, so I took him along. He wanted to check that it was ok.

I didn’t know that you could walk the pattern more than once, dad. I thought it was a one-time only deal. So of course you know what happened. Anyway, Emil and I, Grove of the Unicorn and then we end up this weird place with a tower and flying rocks, and Lara was there too. Turns out she’s a Trump artist. THAT IS SO COOL!!

Oh, I forgot the bit about tracking down the weir infected girl. Ok, so we have to back track a bit here. Whilst Emil and I were working on things to help with the black road, the others were off trying to track down an escapee from Seraat……

Dad. A whole lot of things happened to everyone, and I’m getting everything out of order. I want to tell you everything, but I’m confused and a bit tired right now. I’m writing the way I talk when there’s just too much in my head, and I know that I barely make sense. I miss you. I promise I’ll try and write something more coherent. Things in the palace are extremely strange right now. Luce is really not happy, Hagan’s a vampire, Emil won’t leave his father’s bed side; Lara seems to be the only sane one here. And I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel now. Am I supposed to hate Emil and his family for what happened to my grandfather? Because I don’t want to. But Luce wants to kill Emil’s dad for doing something to his mum. Is this what I’m supposed to be now? I’m not cool with that. Anyway, I’m not making much sense.

I really wish I’d just stayed in the army camp for a while. At least there the tea was good.

Love you Dad.

Oh, PS, I think there’s something wrong with Random. Well, wronger than everything else that is wrong with him. I don’t know what it means, but please be careful.

PPS, Could you send me a copy of the Autochromes from the Dragon Age DaDao sword exhibit at the university museum from a few years ago? I have an idea for something. And don’t get too excited. The only reason I remember them is that I got lost in there looking for the Bursar’s Office 🙂

PPPS, can you help me write a letter? I can’t tell you who it’s to, or many of the specifics, but it needs to be more formal than what I can do. And I need help with some technical drawing and equations. Is that ok?

Scribbles on the bathroom floor

*found by Melisandre amongst several scrunched up balls of paper with half-finished and un-addressed apology letters, incomprehensible drawings and scribbles littering the bathroom of Sioned’s apartments. Thereafter placed in her bedside table.

I don’t like it when things get complicated. Things are now complicated. Not sure what to do. I’ve been in the bath for 3 days; which won’t fix anything, but it makes me feel better. Melisandre keeps bringing warm water when it gets cold. She brings me food, I don’t really want it. I ask her to lock the door when she leaves, and she does. I tell her to leave my things alone, and not tidy up, and she leaves everything the way it is. She doesn’t ask me why, doesn’t ask me for explanations, or reasons. Is that what a maid does for people they don’t know or like? Does she tell other people what I’m doing? That I’m sitting in a bath, crying, not wanting to see anyone, do anything?

I don’t like feeling like this. It’s like I’m 10 again and all I want is to curl up so that no one can see me, and just vanish. Except now curling up and vanishing lands me in a whole other realm of weirdness and trouble (omg omg omg levels of embarrassment. No one will EVER need to know about that! Like, never ever!)  and none of that seems to stop the rubbish pouring out of my mouth. By the Three, two minutes in to a conversation and I’m asking if he is a vampire. I feel ill thinking about it. I want to sink into the floor and forget about it; have him forget about it; just forget everything.

I don’t fit. I know where I sit in this crazy family now, but I don’t fit. People always seem shocked that I would want to do things for no reason other than to help. Is that what this family is? No one does anything just because? And I should only trust myself? That’s going to be hard. I’m starting to see it now. No one trusts anyone in this “family”. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to turn in to some kind of edifice of suspicion. I don’t want to sit at a dinner and worry that the person sitting next to me is gutting me in their mind. I want to remain me, for always. This isn’t how a family should work, this isn’t how my family works. A father is there for his children. He doesn’t promise them things and then change his mind. He doesn’t abandon them or let them squabble over nonsense. Gods this is all so stupid. I want to trust my friends. Do I trust myself to trust them? Is that trusting myself? Is that what the Unicorn mean’t? Or should I trust no one but myself, and trusting myself to trust other people is not really trusting myself at all? Ergh, this is lame and cyclical. I refuse to hate Emil. I refuse. He isn’t his family, he is himself. And I want to trust him, I want to trust Lara and Hagan and Luce and Captain Venator and….and B. And my dad. There’s no way in all the hells that I can stop trusting my dad. No. Way. The thought of not trusting him makes me angry.

And that’s another thing, I really need to get hold of my temper. Something makes me angry and it’s like a switch goes off in my brain. It’s happened twice now. It’s terrifying. I don’t even know where it comes from. Also, dragon. Killing one. What does that mean? I never really believed in the Unicorn, and that was so completely wrong. What about the Three? Are they real too? Am I cursed now?

This is all crap. I shall get out of the bath tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. I will go and see Venator, he at least seems to be honest with me. Get out of this Gods damned palace and away from this “family” for a while. And I need to get rid of this armour. People are going to ask questions. Evidence lockup is as good a place as any. I’ve had enough of questions. I need everyone to leave me alone for a while.


Letter from Bran, delivered in the hollow shell of a large clockwork crab:

Dearest Sioned,

You’re quite right that there are things afoot here in Rebma. I’m sadly more entangled in them than I’d like, but I owe a debt on your mother’s behalf. Prince Madoc is most concerned by the rumours of weirmonken here. I’ve no experience of them myself, save what I’ve read in the histories. Madoc has made a study of them from a medical perspective – he says that weir-taint is not a death sentence for those who live in Amber’s shadows, because such people are close enough to the Real to stave off turning fully weir. It’s only the weaker ones who give in and are consumed by the taint.

But I digress. I am too distracted by politics and dire predictions.

I’m not sure what advice I can give you in respect of our fractious family. I know a little of their histories, but much of that is hearsay and may not, in fact, have any relation to the truth. I know Luce’s mother was Princess Alma, who was the eldest of Queen Harla’s children by Oberon, but I had heard she was killed by Princess Fiona, so I’m not sure why Luce would direct his anger at Prince Brand.

As for my father’s death, no one should be blamed for it but himself. My mother blamed Oberon, and all of the Feldane, and taught me to hate and fear them. But teaching children to hate can backfire on you, and in my case it drove a voracious appetite for books, and for staying at home.

Others will tell you how you should behave, and who you should hate, or trust. But only you can make those choices for yourself. Only you should.

I’ll pay a little attention to Prince Random for you. I suppose he’s my uncle, after a fashion, so I should assist him if he needs it. And I have more access to the royal court at present. Not that I’m especially pleased about that.

I’ve enclosed a copy of the Autochromes. I’ve also included Visser’s work on the great pattern blades, since you’re on the subject of swords. You’ll note a certain synchronicity between the four blades and the four patterns. Visser waxes a little too lyrical in his conclusions I feel, but his research is sound.

I’m so sorry that it’s been hard for you. I feel guilty for trying to shelter you from all this. It hasn’t made your transition easy. But I know you’ll work it out in the end. In the mean time I’ll resist the urge to call you back home and tuck you safe in bed.


PS. Of course I’ll help you write a letter. But I think that might make it a little too obvious that it wasn’t your own work, and that might not be the right way to go about making an apology.