Interior, night. An office somewhere in Palace Amber. Oil lamps light the room in pockets. The camera pans across a large oak desk, showing two empty coffee cups, precarious piles of books on historical or legal topics, rolls of paper. Finally focuses on EDAN KARM, slouched behind the desk. He’s unreasonably tall, so he’s a natural sloucher. Judging by the sheaf of papers in front of him and the ink stains on his writing hand, he has been deeply engaged in research.
EDAN: You have got to be kidding me.
Edan leans back in his chair, stretching out kinks. Notices ink on his fingers. Wipes it on his shirt. Curses at the resultant mess.
EDAN: Well. It could be worse, right?
He stares down at his research a beat. Sighs deeply. Pinches the bridge of his nose.
EDAN: Who am I kidding? It’s worse.
Edan stands up. Pulls on his coat. Strides out the open door and into the palace corridors.
Exterior, night. The bridge across the palace’s dry moat. TOMAS VENATOR is leaning against the bridge rail, smoking. He hears EDAN KARM approaching, and we see his shoulders slump. He clearly hoped for a little more time alone.
EDAN: Excuse me, Sir. Can I have a word?
TOMAS: What, more than those eight?
Tomas extinguishes his cigarette. Flicks the butt into the moat.
EDAN: It’s important.
Tomas makes a face, halfway between incredulity and amusement. Turns to look at Edan.
TOMAS: Always is. So how is the world ending today?
EDAN: Err. I’m not sure it’s quite that bad.
Tomas just stares at Edan, looking slightly annoyed.
EDAN: Well. It could be a ducal coup. That’s pretty bad.
TOMAS: So. The kind of thing the Sheriff’s office deals with, then?
EDAN: Ah. Yes, I suppose. But we really only just re-opened the Sheriff’s office, and…
Edan looks at his feet.
TOMAS: Don’t worry about it, kid. But let’s go and sit somewhere comfortable, yeah? I feel like I need a ladder just talking to you.
Interior, night. An office somewhere in Palace Amber. Much larger than Edan’s office. More bookshelves, more papers and scrolls, but everything perfectly arranged. EDAN and TOMAS are sitting at a small round table in a corner. Tomas has just finished pouring whiskey into two small glasses. Offers one to Edan.
TOMAS: Right. Now, I knew about your dad trying to raise an army. Tell me the rest.
Edan frowns. His train of thought is clearly derailed.
EDAN: No. Um. This is about the law.
TOMAS: You are joking.
EDAN: I wish I was. Okay, the inheritance law in Garnath is male primogeniture.
TOMAS: Tell me your dad’s not going to argue that the Queen broke the law by making your sister Duke? They’re her duchies. She can do whatever the hell she likes with them.
EDAN: Actually, they’re not all her duchies.
EDAN: Chantris, Bayle, Venway, and Feldane are duchies created by the crown. Garnath is like Rebma. It’s a sovereign state. By breaking Garnath inheritance law, the queen has effectively reneged on an ancient treaty with Garnath.
EDAN: That’s exactly what I thought.
TOMAS: So your father can appeal to the church to get his seat back?
EDAN: It’s worse than that, actually. The laws are invested in the crown of Amber, but the treaty with Garnath, like the treaty with Rebma, is enforced by the Pattern itself.
TOMAS: How does that even work?
EDAN: I don’t know. Maybe the unicorn shows up.
The two men sip their whiskey, deep in thought.
TOMAS: There’s more, isn’t there?
EDAN: Well, you probably know most of it.
TOMAS: Amuse me.
EDAN: Well. Chantris and Bayle are tiptoeing around each other over land rights, because Bayle’s biggest problem is they have a huge number of angry young soldiers who want land and can’t get it, and Chantris just plonked a huge new county on the northern beach. Garnath has masses of land that we don’t use because nobody’s mad enough to fight the monsters out of Saba, but the Bayle are pretty used to that kind of thing, so it would probably be easy for my father to find allies there. Then you’ve got the Church, who are still mad they had to crown a woman. Add to that the people who still think Corwin’s the true heir…
TOMAS: …and we have a very big problem.