Such a mix of emotions, high highs and low lows.

Luce’s wake was held on a Chantris ship. Hagen said suitable words, asked me if I wanted to but I couldn’t bring myself to. I wanted to say “He died for you, for Amber, he deserves your veneration as well as your mourning”, but that wouldn’t have been appropriate. I was glad that there were many people there to pay their respects, even if most only showed for only short periods. Luce’s funeral was the next morning and suitably sombre. His mausoleum is quite perfectly Luce I think. I can’t help but have the tiniest bit of, hope? expectation? that he will just suddenly turn up again one day.

I spoke to Hagen, Sioned and Emil re the two big problems we face at the moment. Suhoy and the sceptre, and Oberon riding around in Sean’s body. We agreed that Oberon (code named onion) was biggest problem and we really needed to deal with that first. Sioned and Hagen had some ideas for tracking him, Hagen thought a sample of his blood may make Sean easier to track and Sioned thought she may be able to use an item of significance to Sean to conjure something. Magic confuses me, so I didn’t really grasp the specifics of her thoughts. But either option is worth exploring, I doubt Oberon would let me in like he did last time.

Sioned and I were also able to check, finally (where did the memory come from? I was sure I had no idea where Oberon was), on Oberon. He was still where we left him, safe and apparently sound. We had another look at the box he’s stuck in, but things are no clearer about it. We really need a sorcerer as well. Better  yet, we need the person who constructed it to help us, but I don’t think we could trust Brand as far as we could kick him (which Sioned may be able to do quite a long way). We put the memory of the place somewhere safe. Now, to find and deal with him. We were going to do that after the Ball, (yes there was a Ball, I think it probably deserves the capital B), but things got a little derailed.

Erica came to my rooms to talk to me after Luce’s funeral. She wanted to know if I still want to be sheriff of Amber, now the Pattern had been fixed. We discussed what it involves, which is mostly domestic policing of the Noble houses and occasionally the Royal family. Caine, as herald, has the “international” espionage in hand. Erica stated that as the role has been vacant so long that there’s a lot of staff missing. She had a suggestion of someone for my second in change who was very au fait with the way things work in Amber. His name is Edan Karm and she mentioned that he’d be at the Ball. I agreed to talk to him about it. God knows I need someone who’s got a good handle on how this place works. I’m getting there, but there’s so much nuance, it’s akin to moving countries I guess, but magnified a thousand times.

Ah, the Ball. I’ve never been to anything quite like it. Sure MI6 has an annual formal Christmas event, but this was like something out of Labyrinth almost. There was an awards ceremony beforehand (which reminded me of nothing so much as that last scene in Star Wars, so weird). I received a Knighthood for my services to Amber. It was… odd but also strangely warming?

Afterwards, such a mix of events and emotions. I tried to talk to Deirdre about Suhoy, but unsurprisingly didn’t get much useful information; just that he is definitely a shapeshifter and has become more sophisticated over the years. I really am going to have to talk to Deirdre about my mother and what exactly happened there. I’ve thought about it so much, obviously mum was attacked by someone they were scared of, one of the males of the royal family if I’m of the blood, and she had to flee when she found out she was pregnant. But who? Justice needs to be delivered, though I’m surprised Deirdre has held back this long.

Edan Karm came to find me just as I was about to head off to find him. I’d caught a glimpse at the awards ceremony, but the only impression I had was that he’s very tall. He is. He’s also rather awkward in a charming kind of way. (He’s also awfully cute). It was very endearing to be honest. He doesn’t want to go back home to be goaded by his father into a coup against his sister who is the current head of House Karm. There’s a lot of history there I get the feeling. He’d been groomed to be Duke from day one so he knows a lot about everyone in the noble houses. He’d be a great asset in helping me understand and navigate this place. Offered him 2-I-c role which he accepted. I introduced him to Evgeny as he’ll be working with the City Watch quite a bit I think. That was quite funny (sweet?); Evgeny gave him such a grilling, poor boy.

Talion walked the Pattern below the palace; I guess it’s just not a party if one of us doesn’t. Thankfully he was fine, but who are his parents? Another mystery. We spoke for a while in the library when I was researching the Labyrinth in Feldane lands (more on that soon) and I offered him a role in the Sherriff’s department. He used to be a police officer and I think he’ll be a good asset. He’s not so caught up in Amber politics which will mean he can be impartial and offer sane and uncomplicated advice on things.

Unfortunately Sioned got some bad news about her Dad as we came back to the Ball after watching Talion walk the Pattern. He’d been missing for about 2 weeks in a labyrinth on Feldane lands. He’d last been heard talking about looking for a lost city. A rescue party was sorted with the 5 of us, Sioned as the leader. We reviewed stuff at Brán’s house (I understood less than half of it I’m sure) and then headed into labyrinth.

There were traps, creatures, general nastiness and then holy shit a dragon. Sioned and Hagen kept it busy for a while, then Talion and I went down into the lair to join the fight. Hagen and Talion kept it busy while Sioned went into my brain and gave me some knowledge of how to use a sword. I ended up killing the dragon with Greyswandir. Greyswandir, which cut through it like butter. I’ve never experienced anything like it, such a feeling of power. Thank god we found Brán alive, seriously injured, but alive. Emil got us back to entrance of labyrinth with magic and Sioned took Brán off somewhere to be healed.

Hagen has offered to teach me how to use Greyswandir properly. I don’t even have the basics of using a sword, guns sure, but other than stick the pointy end in the bad guy… no earthly idea. I worry that I’ll disappoint Hagen though, I’m sure that I don’t have what I now know to be Sioned’s aptitude for using one. Sioned has offered me some lessons as well, which I feel a bit more… comfortable, I guess, about.

Sleep, I need sleep, now I’ve got all the dragon bits off me. Then to the onion problem and the rest of the to-do list. That just keeps getting longer. Suhoy, Deirdre, learning about the Sherriff’s role more fully and talking to Edan about it and the dossiers he’s preparing, training with Greyswandir, other things that I’ve no doubt forgotten. But, now, sleep.