Waking up, Lara knows the answer to the question that’s been floating around in her brain for the last few days. A cavalry sword, one with a history of use, probably during the charge of the Light Brigade and well cared for since. Once she finds it she knows she can have it turned into an artefact, hopefully Sioned will be willing to help with that, and then present it to Edan as a wedding gift; a sword fit for a king, as it were.
She finds herself loathe to leave the comfort of their bed. A strong arm draped across her, heavy in sleep, is a feeling she cherishes, but move she must as she’s due to a very early morning meeting with Tomas in an hour. After that she will have a think to try and work out how she can find what she’s looking for. She has some thoughts, but they’re only vague at the moment.
Slowly, gently, she extricates herself from under the arm, smiling fondly at the frown that crosses Edan’s face as she does so. She answers the softly murmured “do you have to go?” with a whispered “unfortunately, but I’ll be back later”, following her words with a brief kiss and caress of his cheek. She knows he’ll be getting up soon himself, but she envies him the peace of a few minutes more sleep.
Moving around the room she readies herself for the day, bathing and dressing with a minimum of fuss and noise. Or, trying to at least. It’s the first time Lara’s ever shared a living space with someone else like this, and she’s still learning both her way around Edan’s rooms and how deeply he sleeps.
A sigh of mock disappointment comes from the direction of the bed as she starts buttoning her shirt and she looks up to see him now hugging her pillow and watching her with sleepy eyes. She pokes her tongue out at him as she finishes with the buttons and then walks over to the bed so she can sit on it as she puts her shoes on.
Edan snakes his hand out to caress her back as she finishes tying the first lace and she leans into it for a moment, wishing she could snuggle back down under the covers with him. In lieu of doing just that she turns slightly and captures his hand, raising it to her lips and pressing a kiss to his palm. Extracting his hand from her grip, he moves it around to the nape of her neck, gently urging her towards him. Lara acquiesces with a smile, meeting his lips with hers for a kiss that, ultimately, leaves her a little breathless.
“Mmm, yep, I think I can face the day now,” Edan says pulling back and placing a kiss on the tip of Lara’s nose before sitting up, throwing back the covers and getting out of bed. She pauses for a moment, admiring the long, lean lines of his back as he moves towards the bathroom, then finishes tying her laces and stands up.
She collects the last few bits and pieces she needs for the day as she mentally reviews the things she needs to discuss with Tomas, always such a long list. Hopefully they’ll be able to get resolution on some of them.
Grabbing her jacket out of the wardrobe she shrugs it on and makes her way to the bathroom door. The sound of the water has stopped and she knocks, waiting for the “come in” before she opens the door.
Edan is towelling his hair dry as she walks in and she leans against the door jamb as she waits for him to finish.
“Heading out?” his question is slightly muffled by the towel.
“Yeah. I’ve got a couple of things to grab from the office before I meet with Tomas, so I’d best get a move on.”
“Okay,” he finishes with the towel and throws it over the rail before walking over and enveloping her in a slightly damp hug. “Love you.” With that he drops a kiss on the top of her head and steps back, releasing her from the embrace.
“I love you too.” Lara stands on her tiptoes for a moment and gives him a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll see you later today.” She smiles at him and then pulls out her Trump deck, riffling through the cards for a moment until she finds the one she’s after.
His “have a good day” is accompanied by a high wattage smile and she blows him a kiss as her response. She concentrates on the Trump until it goes cold and then she disappears in a swirl of rainbow light.
Lara’s meeting goes as expected, some solutions but more issues as well and she wishes Talion had been there, for his insight is always welcome, but he’s away on office business.
She wanders back to the Sheriff’s office thinking about what she needs to do that morning. She knows her calendar is free around lunchtime, so barring disasters she should have some uninterrupted time to think about the sword and how to go about finding it.
The rest of the morning is spent dealing with the paperwork that comes with the job, and a couple of minor matters that her staff bring to her attention. The paperwork that comes through the office seems never ending, but now that there’s a Deputy again she thinks they’ve managed to get on top of it and are keeping it under control.
As she crosses over to the whiteboard to mark something off there is a knock at her office door. She glances at the clock, it’s the stroke of 1pm, as she calls “come in”. Mathilde, one of the daytime Palace staff, appears with a tray upon which are some cold meats, bread, fruit and vegetables, the makings of the working lunch she’d requested from the kitchen earlier in the day. There’s also the ubiquitous pot of coffee, which gets sent up from the kitchen at least three times a day.
“Thank you Mathilde, if you could just put the tray on the table by the door that would be great.”
“Yes your Highness. Will there be anything else?”
“No, thank you Mathilde.”
Mathilde bobs a curtsey and then closes the door behind her, leaving the office quiet again. Most of the admin staff have come back from their lunch break, so the general hubbub of office life is going on in the main part of the rooms allocated to the Sheriff.
Lara picks a few bits and pieces off the tray, making herself a sandwich which she half wraps in a napkin and then pours herself a cup of coffee. She walks back to her desk, placing both the coffee and sandwich on its surface before she sits down.
She knows what it is she wants to find, and if she was back in London she knows how she’d go about doing it. Google, phone, visit auction houses and maybe she’d eventually get lucky and find a sword that was suitable. But she’s not in London. Yes it would be easy enough to head back there and spend the few days, even a week or so, there to get it done but for a number of reasons that just doesn’t feel right.
Lately she’s been finding it a bit easier to sense the Pattern in people and things around her, they just appear a bit brighter somehow. And probability, even here in Amber, has seemed easier to manipulate than it was. She’s run a couple of minor experiments with this, nothing important but things like seeing if Mathilde could somehow turn up precisely as the clock struck 1pm. Or this morning, encouraging Tomas to place his mug of tea just slightly to the left of where he looked like he was going to, and where it would have spilled across his desk due to the letter-opener hidden under the file he was going to sit it on. Both had worked, much to her surprise.
Given this, Lara has been wondering if there’s a way to use Pattern to find objects and maybe even people. Items, or beings, imbued with Pattern would logically seem to be much easier to find, but she thinks that perhaps even non-Pattern things could be found this way, if she had a clear enough picture of what she was looking for and a good idea where to look for it.
Figuring there was only one way to try, she closes her eyes and concentrates on bringing an image of Random, who she knows is still confined to his rooms in the Palace (that had been one of the items of business with Tomas this morning), to mind. She concentrates on him as she last saw him, trying to make his location appear somehow.
Huffing in annoyance Lara opens her eyes and picks up the coffee cup to take a sip. So, that didn’t work. She’s sure it can be done, if nothing else it would explain how Fiona always seemed to be one step ahead. Okay, what else do I need to do to make it work?
She reaches for her sandwich a takes a bite, running through the process as she chews. One, know what I’m looking for; Two, concentrate on it with all my attention; Three, location of object becomes clear. Given that it didn’t work, there must be another step which she’s missing.
The Pattern is the key, so perhaps raising Pattern is the way to go? She thinks about this for a moment, she can’t ever remember seeing Fiona raise the Pattern whenever they interacted with her, or when she disappeared in front of them with no obvious Trump useage, so it must be something more subtle than that.
What if, she takes another sip of her coffee and sits back in her chair, once again engrossed in thought. What if I need to actually imagine walking the Pattern and then, once I get to the virtual middle, concentrate on the thing I’m trying to find? Like walking the Pattern successfully can take you where you want to go? Same principle, except it’s showing you where something you want is, rather than taking you somewhere. Surely walking the Pattern in my own mind can’t be as harrowing as doing an actual Pattern walk, right?
Figuring that there was only one way to find out, Lara closes her eyes again and calls the Prime Pattern to mind, go big or go home, right? She squashes the thought quickly, her focus needs to be completely on the walk if this has any hope of working. Inhaling and then exhaling, she steps onto her mental image of the Pattern and starts to walk it, bringing it into being with each step she takes. Surprisingly she finds it’s easier than expected, the veils which come with a physical walk don’t seem to exist with a mental one.
Within a couple of minutes she is at the centre of the Pattern and she starts to think again about Random and where he might be in his suite of rooms. This proves a bit challenging, keeping both the Pattern and Random in mind at the same time. Initially she can’t see anything, though there is a distant sound of birds maybe? Then, like a gauze curtain being drawn away, her vision clears and she can see Random standing on his balcony gazing out at the ocean with a wistful look on his face.
She’s so startled that she loses concentration and the Pattern and vision fade quickly.
Holy shit, it worked!
Suppressing her feeling of mounting excitement, Lara takes a breath and tries to think logically about what has happened. It worked, yes. It seemed relatively easy, okay. Why? A couple of things come immediately to her mind. She knew to a very small area where Random was likely to be and he himself is imbued with Pattern. She doubts it would be so easy without one or both of those variables.
She stands up and raises her arms above her head and stretching from side to side to work out some of the kinks. Looking over at the clock again she can see it’s only 1:30pm, which is both a bit surprising, as she had thought more time had passed and means she’s still got at least an hour before her next meeting.
Alright, so, she thinks as she sits back down, time for a tougher test. She knows she’s not at the point to look for the sword yet, first she has to see whether this seeking with Pattern thing will work with objects that aren’t imbued with the power’s stamp.
Closing her eyes she brings to mind the Prime Pattern again, walking it just as she did in the first test. Once she reaches the centre she brings Edan to mind, she knows he’ll be somewhere at Eorthwick, but she’s not sure where. This time there are a number of false starts; he’s not in their room, the main hall, the armoury or in his study. Lara spends about 20 minutes searching each of these places before thinking of the stables. She finally finds him there, grooming Altivo while talking to one of his curadhmen.
Smiling, she clears her mind and the vision fades. So, I can use this technique to find people or things which don’t have any trace of Pattern to them. It’s harder, yes, but by no means impossible as long as you know what you’re looking for, where to look and have the time to do so.
Lara yawns and realises that she feels more tired than she had at the start of her experiments. She supposes that this makes sense, as walking the Pattern in reality takes a lot of endurance, so maintaining concentration on it mentally must also do the same. She thinks that it might be a good idea to have Greyswandir with her when she’s looking for the sword for Edan as it’s likely to take a couple of hours at the least.
There’s no time to look for the sword now, but maybe tonight before she heads home to Eorthwick, or, even better, early tomorrow morning before she starts work for the day. There is, however one more test she wants to to try this afternoon and she doesn’t think that it should take too much time.
Logically, she thinks, if I can walk the Pattern mentally and find people with it, then I should also be able to use it the same way an actual Pattern walk works once the centre is reached and transport myself somewhere else.
Calling to mind the Pattern once again she walks it and when she reaches the centre she thinks of her rooms at the Palace and imagines herself standing by her bed. Almost instantly she finds herself exactly there, the Pattern has faded from her mind, but she is where she imagined herself to be.
Well, Lara thinks to herself, that’s useful and explains a lot about how Fiona was able to get around so easily.
Leaving her rooms she makes her way back to the Sheriff’s office, thinking about the various possibilities this new ability might offer.