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It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Amber

Steed's Tale - "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Amber"

Journal of Prince "Major" Jonathan Steed of Amber:
Based on a Scenario by Paul Weimer, Felicia Knight Olson, and Karen Groves during Ambercon XII, 2001.  The GM's portrayed a host of Elders. Paul did not one, but "two" death scenes, passing Jimmy Durante's single performance. And Karen captivated and mesmerized the author with her "superb" performance of the divine Mrs. Emma Peel in black leathers. Many surprises for all!

Written by: R. Cal Westray, Jr. in 2001.
Steed's history was written in 1994.

"Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state,
need to be avenged by agents extraordinary..."

Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order):

Ariadne, daughter of Deirdre – Michael Levay

Celeste, daughter of Julian – Bonnie Roe

Cylene, daughter of Caine – Tracie Michlin

Ivar, son of Julian – Jo Ann Spencer

Morgan, son of Benedict – Chris Salzer

Naeva, daughter of Benedict – Carrie Amodio

Sidonia, daughter of Flora – Linda Voskamp

Steed, son of Flora - Cal Westray


Family Background:
Mother: Flora of Amber
Grandmother: Dybele (deceased) Grandfather: Oberon (deceased)
Great-grandmother: Unicorn Great-grandfather: Dworkin
Father: unknown

Personal History Time Line:

Time conversion: 4 Amber yr. = 10 Earth yr./4 Earth yr. = 1.5 Amber yr.

>Ages 0-10: (1922-1931) (2369-2372 d'L)
Born Jonathan Steed, on February 6, 1922.
Shadow Earth: in Berkshire, England.
>Ages 11-14: (1932-1935) (2373-2374 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Boarding school in Winchester, England.
Amber: Walked the Pattern at 12.
>Ages 15-18: (1936-1939) (2375- 2376 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Eton College, student.
>Ages 19-28: (1940-1949) (2377-2380 d'L)
Shadow Earth: British Royal Navy, title Major.
>Ages 29-32: (1950-1959) (2380-2384 d'L)
Amber Army, title Major.
>Ages 33-50: (1960-1977) (2385-2390 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Ministry of Intelligence, independent agent.
>Ages 51: (1978-1979) (2391 d'L)
Return to Amber after the Patternfall War ended.
>Ages 52: (1980-1981) (2392 d'L)
In Chaos for exchange program.
>Ages 53-60: (1982-2000) (2393 d'L-2400 d'L)
Return to Amber, royal agent.


Story Background:


Comedy.  OK, folks here we go again! Oberon is on his deathbed and the fate of the Realm is in your hands. Are you up to the adventure, excitement and the insanely difficult challenges that face you? The clues are ludicrous, the places bizarre and the people just plain weird -- and you're the only sane one of the bunch. Your parents and the other Elders have gone AWOL and the Jewel of Judgment is nowhere to be found...unless you find it, and then of course, you know where that always leads.... Get your hunting gear on; it's the greatest scavenger hunt of all time! Resemblances to a well-known epic comedy movie are intentional and recommended to the players for getting into the "spirit" of the affair.





Sidonia was raised on Shadow Earth and she loves shopping and parties. She is a jet-setter, hanging out with the beautiful people, e.g. yachting in Monte Carlo and Palm Beach, skiing in Gstaad, shopping in Milan and New York.

Flora sent Sidonia to boarding school in Switzerland. Sidonia proved to be quite a handful for the head mistress, and she was asked to leave. Flora brought her to Amber and convinced Fiona to knock some sense into her head. Fiona did this by teaching her magic and how to walk the Pattern. Sidonia was quite talented, but she unfortunately became bored with the Amber social scene. After completing Aunt Fiona's magical studies course, Sidonia went back to Shadow Earth and graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris. She is in her late twenties. She is 5' 10' with shimmering platinum blonde hair and beautiful green eyes. She is very beautiful and people usually think she is a model or actress.

Sidonia would pop in on Steed whenever she happened to be in England to party with friends at Ascot, Wimbledon and Hurlingham. They would meet in private get-togethers at the Richoux [across from Harrod's] for tea - very ritzy.

During her visits to London, Sidonia and Mrs. Peel shop together at the most fashionable (and exclusive) clothing stores. They also discuss the latest 'family' gossip in Amber over tea. Mrs. Peel briefs her on various adventures (that she can discuss), amusing Sidonia with the tales. And giving Sidonia details that she can pass on to Flora (when asked about them). Steed's activities 'are' a source of family gossip after all.


Episode 8A3-1 - Scavenger's Hunt

In which Steed goes on a wild Jewel chase
... and receives a rough cut.

We are gathered together at Oberon's deathbed. Again. It is nearly a weekly occurrence. We get called in, he tells us 'This is it!' And shortly he gets better and we are sent on our way.

It's the worst case of overacting since Mel Brook's "The Producers". But here we go again. Why do we humor him? Well, quite frankly, it's a matter of the succession. I hear you asking, "Steed, since 'when' did you become interested in the succession?" Well, I'm not! I would support whoever is appointed to the throne, but Oberon is getting more confused and less rational. The fact of the matter is I don't 'want' the throne and there are a lot of relatives that I wouldn't want on the throne either. It's looking less likely that the best qualified will be selected.

So, it's a lesser of evils. My mother, Flora, and my aunts and uncles tell us that we must play our part until the succession issue is resolved.

Everyone is around Oberon's bedside, waiting expectantly for Oberon to draw his last breath, but I think that the old buggerer is too stubborn to just die. I look at mother, who is dabbing away a tear with a satin and lace handkerchief. Very touching, if it wasn't for the broken vial of smelling salts she uses to cause the tears.

I look at my half-sister, Sidonia, who is getting bored with all this, as the rest of us are. She looks at me, as if asking, "will this 'ever' end?" I shrug and grin.

Oberon gave the same speech as he has for the last few months. Then he gets better. Then we get bored and leave.

Heading for the Great Hall, we are told of something strange happening outside. Anxious for something interesting to happen, we head outside. We hear screaming and see Dworkin hanging onto a horse's tail. The mare is dragging him along like a water skier - without the boat, water, or skis. We are mesmerized at the sight, wondering why he just doesn't let go of the horse's tail. Before anyone can do anything to help, the spooked mare runs off the cliff of Mount Kolvir, taking Dworkin with her.

We rush to the edge of the cliff to look down. The broken bodies of the horse and Dworkin are indeed at the bottom of the cliff. However, Dworkin is still moving. I decided to be the first one there, so I teleport by his side to see if anything can be done to help him.

Unlike the horse, Dworkin is barely alive and his broken condition confirms the worst; trying to move him would only hasten his already quickly approaching demise. Ivar, Cylene, Naeva, and Ariadne arrive shortly. Dworkin motions for us to come closer to his horribly mangled body.

"Listen to me, all of you. The Jewel!" His voice breaks, rasping. "You must get the Jewel! Don't let the others have it. Only 'I' know where it was hidden. Under the big 'S'. It is under the big 'S'!" He takes another breath. "Remember, don't let the others know. Get the Jewel for yourself." His voice falls silent and his broken limbs twitch pitifully and he dies. For an ancient shape shifter, his body breaks down and begins to ooze around the rocks that took his life.

Naeva sends word for someone to send down a bucket to collect the melted remains. Morgan uses a putty like device to scoop up the goo and puts everything into the bucket. The bucket is sent to the infirmary for temporary storage until the burial.

Morbid professional curiosity takes over and I look at the remains of the horse. We discuss what appeared to happen and piece together the details of the accident. Apparently, Dworkin 'borrowed' Julian's horse for a joy ride. He soiled himself on the saddle and caused the saddle to become slippery. He fell off the saddle, but caught hold of the tail. He panicked and wouldn't let go of the tail, even when the horse panicked and ran off the cliff. Very sad, if it wasn't so humorous.

We look at each other and without a further word, we return to the edge of the cliff where the others were waiting for us. Sidonia asks me. "What happened? Did he say anything?"

I say, loud enough for her and the others to hear. "It was very sad. He didn't have a prayer. He was delusional from the pain. He was rambling about trying to get the horse to stop." Others are questioned about it and they back up my story! Amazing!

Fiona says sadly. "Someone has to break the news to Oberon."

Flora adds. "He won't take it very well. The shock may kill him."

A smile crosses Fiona's lips. "I'll ask Corwin to tell him." She leaves to find Corwin. I could swear that there is a slight spring in her step.

Oberon later runs from his room to be among us. Saddened by the death of his father, Dworkin, and angered that he was upstaged. Overwrought, he has a heart attack and collapses in front of us, then also pitifully dies.

No time is wasted. Oberon's body is carried to the infirmary by a quickly organized royal honor guard.

Julian arrives from Arden, asking Ivar about what happened. Julian is distraught, because the mare was to be bread to Morganstern. The mare's death affected Julian more than the death of Oberon and Dworkin.

We are summoned to the Yellow Room for the reading of the will. The Elders have been perusing the contents and are visibly upset. They can't believe what they discover. The will was very recently changed and none of them can claim the throne, only the children can claim the Throne. And only the child who can find and return the Jewel of Judgment!

It is now clear what Dworkin meant. Morgan uses his putty material to make a copy of the will (in reverse, of course). The Elders take their children aside. Flora pulls Sidonia and me aside for a discussion.

I take them to my private office, near the Yellow Room, so we can have a little chat. Flora tells us that it must be one of us that takes the throne. She knows that I don't particularly want it, but I will support Sidonia for it.

Sidonia's conceded and would accept my support and guidance, making me the undercover man behind the power. Ultimately, Flora would be pulling the strings. Sidonia felt that aside from Mother and me, the others were too gauche. She thought of Amber as dark, musty, and old-fashioned. She wanted to make it beautiful; to have flowers throughout the interior of the castle and a garden constructed like Versailles. It would be a realm of style, fashion, art, beauty, and expanded commerce. Amber could actually reach the Renaissance age.

I only hope that some thought will be given to 'governing' the realm. I'm sure that would come in due time.

So, I tell them what Dworkin told us. "The Jewel is under the big 'S', whatever that meant. Those of us near Dworkin's body were trying to keep the information secret, but it won't be a secret for long. As I tell you both, they are telling others." Unfortunately it doesn’t make sense to any of us. I used my initiation to the Jewel to try to locate it. All I can sense is that it is out in Shadow somewhere. "The Jewel is in Shadow and we will have to travel through Shadow to find it."

Time to plan strategy. Flora reminds us. "No one can get through Arden without Julian's permission."

I offer. "So we will have to take a little shortcut. But first we will need some horses to use in Shadow. Sidonia and I will leave now." Flora gives us her blessing to depart.

I take Sidonia's hand and teleport us to my personal stables. I had a sneaky idea that may buy us some time, since I don't play fair, to remove the horses from the stables. Easily done with a few teleports.

To my surprise, my Andalusians are missing - along with every other horse in the stables. Someone beat me to the punch! As irritated as I was, I admired someone who thought along the same lines as I. To remove the immediate availability of transportation was a stroke of genius, to act on it before I, was therefore impressive.

"Well, Sidonia, it's time to find alternate transportation. Ready?" I hold out my hand.

She smiles and takes my hand. "At least we won't have to ride smelly horses."

I grin and ignore her comment. I envision a very familiar place, a place where we will be closer to the Shadow that conceals the Jewel. A Shadow that I am quite intimate with. I also use Pattern to affect the probability of success.

We step through the teleport and into a pleasant and familiar countryside. A road nearby leads to Westminster, where I can acquire a set of wheels. Teleporting into town would have been noticeable and risky; in the country, discovery was unlikely. Also, my flat may have been under surveillance.

It is only a mile or so to my flat, so we walk along the road. Within minutes, I hear the noise of a motor car. The engine sound is of a familiar model. Approaching us at a swift clip, is a Lotus Elan. It is powder blue and very familiar to me. I soon see the smiling face of the driver. Her dark auburn hair confirms the incredible coincidence that just occurred. Thanks, Pattern!

"Going my way, Steed?"

"Of course, Mrs. Peel! It’s lovely to see you again, my dear. Care to join us for a treasure hunt?"

"What is the prize?" She smiles and her eyes tell me that she is eager for the chase.

"The world in the palm of your hands."

"Just what I always wanted, Steed. Hello Sidonia, splendid to see you again!"

"Emma! It's super to see you again and to be back in civilisation. You wouldn't believe how ghastly dull things are in Amber."

"You can tell me over tea." They exchange knowing smiles.

"No time for tea, ladies." I look at the two-seater convertible. "Take shotgun, Sidonia, I will ride on the boot." Sidonia sits in the left seat. I climb in over the boot and place myself between them and lean forward. "Just like old times, my dear."

"Indeed, Steed. I’ll drive and you navigate. Ready?"

"Right! I’ll handle the shifting as we go." And I don’t mean the gearshift. I tap her shoulder indicating that I’m ready. I tuck the brolly into the space between the seats, hold onto my bowler, and lean into the acceleration. Sidonia reclines in her seat, expecting Mrs. Peel’s slamming down on the accelerator.

I summon the Sign of the Pattern before me and extend my awareness seeking the Jewel of Judgment, the object of my desire. I feel the gentle pull in the direction the Jewel lies. I begin shifting Shadow, taking us closer to our goal.

The pavement changes from two lanes to four lanes. A few cars approach head-on - indicating a shift to right lane driving, not left lane driving. So we are forced to change lanes to avoid an accident.

Within minutes we approach a Super shopping center. The sign says 'Seven Center', a vast shopping mall with an odd quirk. Each store starts with the letter ‘S’. Huge ‘S’ signs are everywhere: Sainsbury’s, Sears, Sam’s Club, Sherwin Williams, Spiegel, Spencer's Gifts, Sound Waves, and Sunglass Hut. There are also plenty of Shoe, Salon, Security, Stereo, Sewing, Sign, and Sporting Goods stores - well, you get the idea. There are petrol service stations: Shell, Sonoco, Super America, Swifty, and Speedway. There is a food court: Shakee’s Pizza, Subway, Stuckey’s, and Seafood restaurants. Nearby, there is a Sheraton Hotel and a Seven-Eleven convenience store. Believe me, this was just the tip of the iceberg. It is a case of alliteration gone to insane proportions, the kind of place a madman would design. Madman? Dworkin? Of course, the big 'S'.

This looks like it could be the right place, but where to begin? Using the brolly, I point to Sainsbury’s. Mrs. Peel guides the Lotus to the closest parking space and kills the engine. I get the feeling we aren’t alone and the arrival of more vehicles confirm it. Morgan is in a vehicle that looks like it has a draconian design. Ivar and Celeste are in the second car. Cylene and Ariadne are in the third. Naeva is riding a horse. (I discovered much later that it is one of Benedict's that she 'didn't' get from the stables.)

The sides are chosen and all are in hot pursuit behind us.

I catch a glimpse of a dark human-shaped figure moving at the edge of the parking lot. It seems to be stalking something, moving from one patch of shrubbery to another. An observer or a threat? I'll just have to keep alert to find out. "Mrs. Peel." I tilt my head in the direction of the observer.

"Yes, I know. Rather suspicious behavior for a parking lot, isn't it?" She smiles. "I'll keep an eye on our guest."

As Morgan gets out of his car, there is a flash and explosion as the draconian vehicle is catapulted into the air. Someone is trying to destroy his vehicle (and him as well?) with a bomb.

Instead of waiting for the vehicle to begin its smoking decent, we climb from the Lotus and dash into Sainsbury’s, searching for an entrance to some place that conceals the Jewel. The Pattern indicates that we are close, but the ‘where’ is elusive. So we must search the hard way. The stores are open but I doubt that the Jewel is ‘in’ one of the stores. So, we examine the entryway under the big ‘S’ of the Sainsbury’s sign for hidden doors on the sides of the entrance; but we have no luck.

I hear a rattling sound approaching Sidonia and me. I turn in time to see a motorized shopping cart charging at us. Sidonia doesn’t see it, so I rush her and push her out of the way. I am still hit by the side of the cart. She is startled by my assault until she sees why. The impact was a glancing blow and will only leave a bruise on my leg.

The rampaging shopping cart spins around for another attack. Like a bull preparing for a charge. The wheels are spinning madly. I withdraw the sabre from by brolly and take a matador stance, without the cape. I hold the blade high as the cart charges. When it is within reach, I step aside and drop the blade in a very low sweeping cut - cutting the wheels off the left side.

It falls over on its left side and the motor whines pitifully, unable to resume its attack.

"Good heavens! What is the meaning of this?" The voice of a store manager calls out to us. "Sir, you can’t just come to our store and destroy our shopping carts."

"There appears to be a malfunction in your carts." I pull out my wallet and withdraw a selection of large denomination bills, in the proper currency of this Shadow. Handing the cash to the manager, "I hope this covers any damages."

He looks at the cash, then the disabled cart, then the cash again, then at me – smiling broadly. "Uh, thank ‘you’ sir! Indeed it will, sir. I am very sorry for any inconvenience; I can tell that you are a busy man and I hope there won’t be further malfunctions. Please enjoy shopping in our store! Yes sir, please enjoy shopping." He walks off to do whatever he did before, but a tad better off.

"Sidonia, I don’t think the cart acted on its own."

"No, Steed, some spells were cast upon it to attack us." She scans the area, alert for signs of other magical activity. Understandable - after the attack on us and Morgan, someone is seriously trying to get us out of the race for the throne.

"Ah! A magical distraction designed to keep us from the task at hand. Let’s get back to it then. I wonder how Mrs. Peel is faring?"

I stick my head outside to look at the parking lot.

"Steed! Sidonia!" The familiar and seductive voice of Mrs. Peel is declaring a note of discovery.

I motion to Sidonia, and open the door. Letting Sidonia step through first, we see Mrs. Peel leaning casually up against a ‘Stop’ sign. Tilting her head, she indicates that this is the way. She passes her hand into an area under the Stop sign and it disappears. She pulls it back whole.

Examining the area around the sign with Pattern, I confirm the existence of portal that opens to ‘somewhere’ and this seems to be the right place. "Good show, my dear! Shall we proceed?"

"It’s your party, Steed." Grinning evilly.

"Normally I would say ladies first, but I better be the advance scout." I feel around the perimeter of the portal and it is large enough to fit through. So, I step through to… where? This is a place of no colors, like a world of black and white television – but more accurately, that of a photographic negative. It is very distracting. No apparent dangers, and there is a path to follow. The gentle tug of the Pattern is guiding the way for me. Sidonia and Mrs. Peel arrive within seconds.

"Steed, what a strange place! Where to now?"

"We follow the path, Mrs. Peel." I lead the way until the path splits into three paths.

Mrs. Peel and Sidonia look to me for advice. I look at Mrs. Peel, "You take the high road (pointing to the right) and I’ll take the low road (pointing to the left)." To Sidonia, "My sister, you take the middle path. The paths 'may' converge. If there is a problem, give a shout. The others will come running. Agreed?"

Sidonia smiles. "As you suggest, brother. Let’s get moving before the others catch up with us."

I follow the winding path to the left without incident. My attunement to the Jewel tells me that I am still heading in the right direction. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of the dark human-shaped figure moving in the distance to the left. It doesn't attempt to move any closer to me, just keeping on a parallel course. It's position will keep it from being seen by anyone but me.

After a few minutes of walking, the path ends into a clearing. Along the edge of the clearing, I can see other paths that end into this clearing as well. What is striking about the clearing is the massive figure of the Serpent of Chaos in the center. It appears to be slumbering and I hope he stays that way.

Within the curled up form of the Serpent is a small nest and in the nest is something that glitters in the strange dark/light of this place. It looks like a piece of jewelry, could it be?

Mrs. Peel and my relatives approach from the other paths. I move slowly toward the nest to see what it contains. But before I reach it, a large white crow swoops in and takes it. The others move in to intercept the crow.

I consider teleporting to the bird to snatch it – midair – but I stop for one more check. With my Jewel of Judgment attunement, I scan for it. I am amused to see that the bird has a decoy and the real Jewel is still in the nest, but buried under it!

I get Sidonia’s and Mrs. Peel’s attention. "Ladies, the Jewel is buried under the nest. Keep the others busy with the crow while I dig it up."

They smile and join the wild crow chase. I quietly approach the nest. My bowler is felt covering a steel frame, making it excellent as a digging implement.

After a few minutes of digging, I reach the Jewel and pluck it from the hole. I dust off the Jewel and the bowler, tap the bowler back in place, and move away from the slumbering Serpent.

It was at that unfortunate moment that the Serpent woke up and I became the focus of its attention. The Serpent becomes distracted by the crow that is flying away with the Jewel. It moves away to follow the crow. Thankfully, it does. I don't plan to stick around to see how it goes.

I glimpse Sidonia, as she kills time in the chase and casts her 'Shave-and-a-haircut' power word spell on the crow. Nice touch! Without feathers, the naked crow plummeted.  Someone caught the fallen crow and retrieved the fake Jewel. The others finally noticed that I was busy elsewhere and realize that I also have a Jewel.

I spot the dark human-shaped figure again, it is watching us beyond the clearing. The light hits the figure's face occasionally and I try to see the details. I can't be certain, but it looks like Dara. Is she planning to intervene in the chase and take the Jewel for herself or for Merlin, our missing cousin?

I feel a pull from behind and I am deprived of my prize.  By the Unicorn! Ivar had rushed in and snatched the Jewel from my hand, while I was distracted by Dara and the Serpent.

Ivar runs off with it and I chase after him.  He stops after a few hundred feet or so and pulls out an object from his shirt, throwing it onto the ground. I try to catch up with him and he tries to fall into, what seems to be, a newly made hole. Something seems to be stopping his departure and I spot the necklace dangling from his grasp.

An inviting target, I find difficult to resist. Taking off my bowler, I fling it at the chain. His struggling to enter the hole causes too much movement and I miss the chain by an inch. Unfortunately, it takes a gash out of his wrist and he drops the chain. His hand was nearly severed.

All of us close in around him to take the Jewel. A free for all ensues over the possession of the Jewel. Being the furthest away, but closest to Ivar, I take off my silk tie and bind his wrist to stop the bleeding. My field medical training helped to do the best job possible and his Amberite endurance should help until we can get him to an infirmary, but he ‘will’ need more medical attention than I can provide. Once he is tended to, I return my attention to the Jewel. I could sense Pattern being used to influence probability, to shift possession of the Jewel. I recognize the Pattern signature of one of them, Sidonia. Good girl, keep it up!

With Ivar and myself otherwise occupied; all the others held tightly onto the chain or the Jewel. All except Naeva, who has her blade withdrawn to strike into the crowd of hands to break up the stalemate. Surely, she plans to use the flat of the blade to break the chain. I hope she doesn’t plan to use the edge, disregarding the danger to all the others. Ivar’s injury was an accident, but this would be a cold calculated attack. Sidonia would be in immediate danger from it, holding onto the chain and fighting for more control over its possession.

I don’t know what possessed me to do what I did next. I thought of it as I was running into the crowd. I thought I could time it correctly, but it was fool hardy and seemed worth the risk.

I pour on the speed and leap over the crowd, to land over the hands and grab the Jewel. The force of my body hitting the group threw everybody off balance and my momentum continued as I had my hand on the chain – someone else had hold of the Jewel itself.

I envisioned the area near the nest as I had the chain in hand. Encompassing the others below me with my area of effect, I concentrated upon my desire. But my concentration was shattered as Naeva’s blade bit deeply into my right side. Well I ‘knew’ this would be risky, but I thought I could beat Naeva’s swing and hoped she would use the flat of her blade – not the edge. Bloody hell! The pain caused me to lose my grip on the chain. The Jewel tumbled end over end and fell into the hole made by Ivar.

The others leaped into the hole after the Jewel. Sidonia paused briefly, to see if I need help. I will need stitching, like Ivar and time is of the essence. Taking off my jacket, Sidonia tied it tightly around my waist. I urged her to join the chase and I will be close behind. Morgan was encouraging his dragon to jump into the hole, with some complaint.

I take my brolly into my left hand and open it. Thus prepared, I jump through. The pain is horrible, but bearable. The pressure is lessened because the cut is on my right side and my left side is bearing the weight of the wind resistance hanging from the open brolly.

Definitely nowhere as effective as a parachute, it 'does' slow my fall - barely. The dragon plummets past me, missing me by mere inches. Where is Morgan? My question is answered with the sound of metal on metal as he uses his blade to cut through my brolly. That wasn’t very sporting! Now ‘I’ am free falling – and this is really going to hurt!

I look down trying to assess my/our chances. Apparently Sidonia, my dear dear sister, cast her 'Flowapow' power word spell to create a mountain of flower petals and pollen to break our fall. The others one by one are hitting and disappearing into the tons of flower petals. The dragon hits next, possibly landing on poor unfortunates. Morgan and I land on the flowers and utterly fail to 'miss' the dragon.

The wind is knocked out of me and lights explode around me from the pain that passes throughout my entire body. My limbs tingle with numbness and I struggle to catch my next breath; daring not to move and certain that there is at least one broken bone to deal with. The gambler in me would bet on some broken ribs, yet hoping I lose that bet.

Mrs. Peel is the first to recover. She looks up and climbs through the pile of flower petals and bodies. She deftly catches the Jewel as it falls slowly from the sky (an apparent effect of the Jewel's ability to protect itself from falling damage).

She picks up my bowler, which landed nearby, and places it on my head. Everyone watches as she makes her way off the mountain of flowers and jumps into the clearing with her prize. She smiles and looks at me. "The world in my hand, Steed. Just what I wanted!"

Sidonia emerged from the pile of petals, apparently her 'Flowapow' power word spell saved her from any noticeable serious damage. Smiling, she cast her 'Salon' power word spell upon herself and her appearance was immaculate once more. She looks pleased that Mrs. Peel has the Jewel - as do I.

I look around and see that the others suffered various injuries. No one is in shape to contest Mrs. Peel's possession of the Jewel. I am still trying to catch another painful breath, made harder because of my injuries. Mrs. Peel shakes her hair and leans forward. She grabs a tab on her back and pulls forward. A mask and wig is removed, revealing the features of a very slimmed down version of my uncle – Caine! What the blazes? His features shift to his normal appearance – and still in leather.

All of us are shocked at the revelation. Especially Sidonia and myself. Blast! It was easy for an experienced shape shifter to change his body to the same shape as Mrs. Peel. He took her place and guided us to the location and took the Jewel for himself.

"But I thought that the Elders were exempt from the hunt." I barely got out, gasping.

"A loop hole. To be precise, an 'omission' Steed. I appreciate your help in recovering the Jewel. Yes, we ‘were’ exempt, but nothing was mentioned to prevent us from taking the Jewel ‘after’ it was recovered and ‘before’ it was returned to Castle Amber. I decided to capitalize upon that omission. It can be taken from me as well by anyone."

I look around for the dark figure.

"No, Steed. I don't think that even Dara will dare to take it from me, and yes it was her. Well, you ‘know’ the rest."

Caine turns to my cousin. "Well Cylene, at least the Jewel is now in ‘our’ branch of the family." She faintly smiles at that and then her brows furrow, obviously in pain from whatever injuries she acquired from the fall.

Caine opens a Trump portal and brings in a large group of men and stretchers. "Gather them up carefully and take them to the infirmary. I want them ‘well’ cared for and whole, in time for my coronation."

Sidonia looks at me, shaking her head. "Well brother, we gave it our best shot.  I'll have a talk with Mother and break the news to her. I doubt if she will be at all surprised." She turns and passes Caine, smiling. "By your leave, uncle." She masks her slight irritation at being taken in by Caine and a slight limp from her fall.

He nods, grinning at the deception he played on all of us. "Later for tea, my dear." In Mrs. Peel's voice.

Sidonia pauses, turns to look back at Caine, raises an eyebrow, smiles, turns again, steps through the portal and disappears.  One by one, we walked through the portal or were put on stretchers and carried through the portal. Even Morgan's dragon was carried off on several stretchers. When it is my turn, I am directed past Caine. He smiles. "I heartily approve of your traveling companions, Steed. We’ll talk later after you have been looked after, I'll bring some brandy."

I grin, forcing back the waves of pain. "Thanks, uncle. You ‘do’ have something in common with Mrs. Peel and myself."

"And that is?" He asks expectantly.

"You have good taste and 'none' of us fight fair." I cough as I try to laugh. By the Unicorn, my ribs and side hurts.

He grabs my shoulder and laughs. "Indeed, nephew. Indeed." He then motions to the men carrying my stretcher to take me through.

As I am carried into the Trump portal, I sigh and relax. Besides the wild Jewel chase, the gash in my side, a few broken bones, my ruined suit and brolly, and the imposter in our ranks – I think things went pretty well. I think that the ‘real’ Mrs. Peel will find this tale amusing.

At least that was my last thought before I drifted off into unconsciousness.

The end...

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R. Cal Westray, Jr.
Revised: April 24, 2009.

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