She couldn’t find Madoc, but if she was honest, she wasn’t trying very hard. How exactly does one approach that conversation. Dear Your Highness, please stop lobbying to noodle around in Brands head. Trust me, you don’t want to. Room full of insane don’t want to. Would make matters worse don’t want to. Psyche the size of a small continent don’t want to. Really really REALLY you don’t want to. And yes, of course you would listen to me, because doesn’t everyone sarcasm

She eventually wrote a quick note, much to that effect and gave it to a servant. They could go find him, and have about as much impact on his decision making as she would anyway.

All the time, that little voice peppered away at the back of her brain.

You treated her like Theodric treated me

She wasn’t going to be able to shake that. It was horrible, awful, gods, what had she been thinking. At best she could push it into a corner and come back to it later. There would be no more mucking around with her brain-meats. Somewhere in there a spark of something was starting to form that might be a plan.

No, she did not have time.

You treated her like Theodric treated me

“I do not have time!” she admonished herself verbally as she took a shortcut across the Long Gallery.

“Time for what?” Fate was occasionally a bit of an arse. Of course Madoc and Llewella would be in the Long Gallery, where barely anyone goes unless they’re trying to avoid other people.

At the other end of the gallery, the servant she had given the note to appeared and walked forward swiftly, only faltering when they spotted Sioned and the faint shake of her head.

Servants in the palace were extremely good at the “about-face-I-am-not-here” move, and this one executed it perfectly. If only she were so lucky.

Her about face mostly involved trying to not look like she wanted to be elsewhere. Success could be measured on a sliding scale. She just hoped they really didn’t pay her too much attention most of the time and wouldn’t notice over much.

“Well, anything at the moment really…” And then she started getting a Trump contact, of course she was, because why not when she was hung over already. “and now I’m getting a trump contact.” She sighed and blocked it for now. That hurt a bit more than expected.

“We shouldn’t hold you up then.” Lewella was an enigma to Sioned. She kept herself separate from the other members of the family and gave very little of herself in conversation. For some reason, Sioned found it difficult to talk with/at her. She wasn’t sure why, but it probably had something to do with her being Rebman Royalty. She felt similarly hesitant when dealing with Madoc. Which was an oddity in itself. Princes of Amber, movers of worlds, and pissers off of each other from time immemorial, she could yammer at or with and barely bat an eyelid (well, except perhaps Fiona, because shit no). Stick her in front of any member of the Rebman Noble Houses and back to her insecure little nine year old self she would go.

Hiding in the nori beds

Wait, what?

Hiding in the nori beds

No. No time for whatever that is either.

BIIIIG Breath.

“Actually, I did need to see you both…” Trump contact again, more insistent. Dead gods, can’t they wait for two seconds.

“Your highness.” She addressed Madoc, his lip twitched in amusement. “A small favour?” She waited for a response, even a small one. He inclined his head slightly.

“I get that there are a lot of things that you probably want to know about what’s going on in Brands head, but honestly, I think it’s best just to leave that one alone. It’s a mess in there, has to be a mess in there, I mean, after what probably happened; not that I’m fully across that yet, but I will be soon enough; it’s not a place you want to go rooting around in, I mean, no one in their right mind would want to. Bag of catfish, very very big bag of catfish. So if you could do me an eensy favour and maybe stop trying to…do that…it would be…very good.” She finished lamely.

TRUMP CALL!!!! – OW!!!!

“Oh for the love of the gods!!” That earned her worried looks from both of them.

JUST A MINUTE!!! thundering headache

She didn’t wait for a response this time from Madoc. Whoever was calling was obviously not going to give up any time soon.

“Your highness?” Addressing Llewella this time, whose gaze was completely inscrutable and made Sioned distinctly uncomfortable.

“Yes.” She replied.

“I have a plan how to get back to Rebma, I mean like above board and…” She what?!?!  BRAIN, CONNECT TO MOUTH BEFORE SPEAKING!!!!

“So…uh…I will figure that out and…uh…come back to you about that…and Brand…well…he’s not going to be able to help much so…” what the hell was she doing??

PICK UP THE DAMN TRUMP CALL!! – Oh I hate you so much right now, whoever you are.

She closed her eyes and took a deep steadying breath. Calm, be calm. Step forward, hasa no kame, side step to chudan, eagle flying over water, breathe and execute qiè.

She opened her eyes, calmer, voice level, and apologetically bowed slightly at the waist in the Venway manner.

“I’m very sorry, but this trump contact is being…extremely insistent, and I’m afraid I’ll have to see what they want. Please excuse me, and allow me to continue this conversation at a later time?”

She waited for their consent, which was given in a bemused manner, before turning and leaving the gallery to take the Trump contact.

Llewella pursed her lips.

“I don’t understand that girl. She makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t know why.”

Madoc just shook his head, smiling faintly.