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Sylvie's Story - "Or The World May Die"


Sylvie's Story - "Or The World May Die"

Sylvie's Story is written by Carla Arnoldi in 2001.
Based on a Scenario by Jo Ann Spencer during Ambercon XII, 2001.

The title of the game is taken from a poem found near the start of the first volume of Stephen R. Donaldson's "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant." 

Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order): 
Aelric, son of Caine - Patrick A. Franklin

Bran, orphan - Michael Trout

Jinx (Jordan Mackenzie Reagan), daughter of Bleys – Deb Atwood         

Keldian, son of Julia and Jurt – Scott Olson

Ruther, parentage is unknown – Sean Thompson

Steed, son of Flora - Cal Westray

Sylvie, daughter of Eric – Carla Arnoldi


"Something there is in beauty which grows in the soul of the beholder like a flower

Fragile – for many are the blights which may waste the beauty or the beholder,

And imperishable – for the beauty may die, or the beholder may die,

but the soul in which the flower grows Survives."

Stephen R. Donaldson, "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant"


Story Background in: "Or The World May Die"



Sylvie is a petite, slim girl. Pale faced with jet black hair, cropped short. Heart shaped face and big blue eyes. She has scars on her wrists from an attempted suicide. She walked the Pattern with these scars and therefore they are a part of her genetic make-up. She seems proud of the scars and often absentmindedly runs her fingers across them.


Sylvie is the daughter of Prince Eric of Amber. She grew up in a shadow world unaware of who or what she is. Raised by her mother, Dana, the only knowledge she has of her father is his name and that he was a traveler passing through. Dana never spoke negatively of Eric, but rarely spoke of him at all.

As Sylvie grew up, she was prone to bouts of depression. She cares very deeply about the world around her and feels very connected to nature. She was an environmentalist leader in the world she grew up in. When Sylvie is brought to Amber, she comes to realize that all of the worlds environmental problems stem from Amber. She grows increasingly disdainful of most Amberites. In her view, she finds most Amberites selfish and self absorbed. People who care little about the Shadow worlds they can control and more about petty squabbles and power plays.


“Or The World May Die” Ambercon 2001

Sylvie's Story:


I wake up, groggy and disoriented. What happened? The last thing I remember is walking with Julian in the forest of Arden. It was a beautiful, sunny day and then I remember some kind of overwhelming psychic attack. I was unable to fight it and I went down. I shift and realize I am contained in a coffin like fixture. Interesting, is this the end I have longed for? It is quite cold and I am looking up into a glass opening which is beginning to fog. I notice a handle on the inside of my prison. Turning the handle opens the lid and I find myself alive and able to sit up. As I survey the room I see some familiar faces from Amber, no one I have more than a passing acquaintance with. Jinx, Steed, Bran, Aelric, Ruther, and Keldian. “Oh Damn, we’re still alive!” I exclaim.

The room we are in is filled with trappings like my own. Line after line of the coffin like boxes. Some beginning to fog at the windows, some not. It appears that we have all been put into a cryogenic sleep. How long have we been in this state, I wonder? Various other Amberites and Chaosians stumble from their coffins, Martin, Despil, Gilva, and Garen. Hmmm no Elders though. I wonder where Prince Julian is, he is the only one I care about. I can’t seem to remember what happened to him when we were attacked. I wonder what has happened here, it has to be something terrible. The only explanation I can come up with is that something has happened to the world we lived in. Why else would we be in this strange room, left to sleep for however long it has been.

I clamber out of my coffin and take a few tentative steps. My legs feel wobbly, but I seem to be in good shape. It is then that I notice my Pattern is gone. I try to bring it up in my mind to no avail. I feel something, like a faint glimmering of the Pattern, but essentially there is nothing. I pull out my Trumps, almost all of them are dead. Others begin testing their own sets, the only ones that work are for those of us alive in this room. Castle Amber, the Unicorn Grove, and some Chaosian houses still function. I wonder what this means?

I notice Jinx standing at a door, I am anxious to see where we are so I follow her. Bran trails along behind us. A quiet child, I wonder how he is taking all of this. We find ourselves in a room with sleeping babies sealed in their small coffin. We decide to leave them to their slumber, although it appears that not all of them made it through this ordeal . No matter, it is probably better for them to find their rest in death rather than to be stuck in our current situation. We move on into a room filled with boxes and boxes of food and supplies. It appears as if someone prepared us well for our awakening. This is still a mystery, and I am anxious to find the outside world. I need to see what happened to the trees, the plants, the flowers, the life outside of our tomb. Wandering around yields nothing, no windows, no clue to what has happened to our world.

As I step back into the main room, I see Steed touch the main pedestal in the middle of the room. a holographic image of Fiona and Mandor appears. Finally, something to help us understand why we are here. Fiona begins speaking, with some input from Mandor. They explain our current situation. Basically they tell us that since all of the high and mighty Amberites were too busy fighting over their petty differences no one bothered to notice that Corwin’s Pattern was destroying the worlds around them until it was too late. We are here because they had to make a vain attempt to save what they could. The others seem to take this information in stride. They look upset, but I don’t think any of them understand that the blame belongs at the feet of all Amberites.

“Now all of nature and every living thing in the world is dead except for us, how typical.” I say. My comment results in an exasperated sigh and look of disdain from Jinx, “you care more about the blades of grass and the dead people than the survivors, don’t you?” she spats. “Yes, I do” I reply. I glare back at her. I don’t really expect her to understand. The idea of taking responsibility for the destruction Amber has caused is inconceivable to those like her.

I am disgusted with all of this, and most of all, I am disgusted that I am a part of it. Why did I have to be born an Amberite? I absentmindedly rub at the scars on my wrist and wonder what kind of cruel joke was it to put me here. Why when so many were blessed by death am I still here? I need to get outside, I need to view the destruction with my own eyes.

There is a large airlock in this room that looks fairly easy to open. Of course, we have no idea if the outside world is safe. Even Fiona and Mandor were unable to tell us what we would awaken to. The others come up with a plan to build an additional airlock, so we may open the main airlock without destroying our enclosure. I volunteer to help dismantle the coffins along with Steed. Perhaps I can find some consolation in the dead. I say a small prayer over each body as I go through the coffins. While some may view death as an end, I understand that these souls were set free. They have continued on the wheel of life and have moved on into a new existence. Steed is nice enough, however I get the feeling he is somewhat wary of me. A feeling I am used to.

It takes hours to complete the construction of the airlock. I must be one of the first to go outside. As the others are discussing the possible dangers, I say “Send me, I’ll go. I don’t really care if I die, and I’m sure none of you care if I die too.” This is met with sounds of disapproval but in the end they agree to let me go. Keldian, Gilva, and I suit ourselves up in Haz-Mat suits. Keldian casts some sort of environment protective spells on the suits to better protect us. Too bad no one was able to protect the environment.

I find myself shaking as the door of the airlock begins to open. I take in a breath and hold it as the world outside is revealed. I feel sick to my stomach at what I see. No water, no trees, no grass, no flowers, not a single speck of green touches the landscape. We seem to be on a large rock surrounded by a force field that is holding back swirling mists of Chaos. Gone is the beautiful world we once knew replaced by swirling masses of Primal Chaos. “Look what we have done!” I want to scream at the others, “Look at what our petty skirmishes have caused. I hope everyone is happy now.” I choose to keep my thoughts to myself. These people will never understand.

I wander out into this strange world and look around. I peer into the mists and occasionally make out familiar shapes, if only for fleeting seconds. There are two large pillars at either end of the rock. At the north end, the bones of a Unicorn and a human can be seen in the mists. At the south end, there are matching bones of a human and a Serpent. The human bones can only be Fiona and Mandor. They gave their lives to save some of us. I try to feel some emotion for them, but I can’t let go of the anger at the whole situation. In the end it was the Elders fault and in the end they gave their lives. It seems somewhat a fitting end to me. I shrug and head back to the entrance.

The others come out to survey our surroundings. It is a dismal sight for all. We surmise that some places were probably similarly protected and still exist. This explains why some of our Trumps do work. Jinx trumps Castle Amber and steps through. Steed and Aelric follow her to the castle. Gilva and Garen head to the Courts. I stay behind with Keldian. We drag out everything on the creation of the original Pattern and Logrus we can find. He searches the information on he Logrus and I search the material on the Pattern. Conversation between us is somewhat stiff. We obviously have different views. The material I’m reading is interesting. However, there is not any new information on the creation of the Pattern.

As Keldian and I talk, the situation becomes clearer. I have wondered why I was saved, but I think I am beginning to understand. We have to re-create the world. All of the others believe the world should be created as it was. They are fixated on what we had, and are failing to understand that we can do it differently. We have been offered this amazing opportunity to create a world, why would we not do it differently? I understand my role now, it is up to me to insure we create a world that glorifies nature, that doesn’t allow for petty squabbles. We can create Eden, the perfect garden, and we can call it home.

Keldian receives a Trump call from Gilva, who reports that the Courts are in disarray but are also protected by a force field. Gilva did find an interesting statue, which they bring and hand over to Keldian. It is of the Unicorn and Serpent entwined. The statue was found in the remains of the Cathedral of the Serpent. It was hidden away and warded. I find it odd that no one had ever found the statue before.

Keldian decides to go explore the Courts for himself. I ask to go with him. At first he says “no,” his disdain for me clearly written on his face. I can not sit here and do nothing, I am here for a reason. I have to be a part of this. “I promise, I won’t say a word.” I plead. “I won’t speak of the dead, I won’t speak of anything. Please Keldian, I can’t just sit here and do nothing.” Finally, with my vow of silence, he agrees to take me along.

I have never been to the Courts of Chaos before. It is an interesting place, I find it much more fascinating than Amber. We find many dead bodies in our explorations. Keldian glares at me as I start to speak, so I bite my tongue before making a comment about the dead. I was only going to try and comfort him, but he clearly doesn’t understand that death is really a beginning. In one of the rooms, we find documents on the creation of the universe. These are original pages from the 'Book of the Serpent'. Hopefully, we will find some clue on recreating the world.

Jinx trumps Keldian and I join in the contact. The other group has been busy in Amber. They have found the original pages from the 'Book of the Unicorn'. I am excited to read through these new documents. We have an item of Power and additional information. As I flip through Dworkin’s book, I notice an underlined passage “And Oberon was the only offspring of the Unicorn.” Off to the side, written in red in Dworkin's hand, is the word “HA!” I smile to myself at this. From our studies, we discover that the Unicorn and Serpent, foreseeing the end of the world, planted the seeds for a new beginning. It seems as if all traces of the Pattern and the Logrus must be expelled from the world.

We receive another call from Jinx. They have discovered an item of Power that they believe to be a form of the Jewel of Judgment. This stone is embedded in the earth and unmovable. Jinx explains that when touched the stone drains the last of the small Pattern energy left in us. We deduce that all of us must touch the stone. We form a chain and every person steps through the Trump contact to touch the stone. With each touch, the stone seems to glow brighter in alternating lines of green and red. When I take my turn, I feel Pattern disappear. It is a strange feeling, but I feel refreshed in a way. Glad to be rid of the dying Power, I take a step back to observe the proceedings.

Bran is resistant to stepping through. Steed tries to reason with him with no luck. Bran has been so withdrawn throughout this, I have no idea what he is thinking. “Come on through Bran” I say “please, we need you to do this.” He finally agrees and as he steps through, I am shocked by his appearance. Somehow, he has matured and aged from the 12 year old boy he was into a man. We have never known who Bran’s father was, but as I look at him and see the features of my own father reflected in his face, I know I have a new brother. Before he steps back through the Trump I tell him “Perhaps we should discuss who your father was, when all this is done.” He nods at me and steps back through the Trump.

Keldian is the last to touch the stone. He then takes the statue and touches it to the stone. We all step back and wait. I am in awe as I watch the stone glow brightly and the earth begins to shake. The stone seems to swallow the statue as it shifts and swirls and appears to grow. A fountain of flames shoot forth and a large Phoenix emerges from the flames. The Phoenix is breath-taking as it stretches its wings and shimmers in hues of red, orange, and yellow. Anxious to see if the environment is reacting to this birth, I look to the land near the rock. The ground begins trembling and I watch fascinated as a crack appears in the ground and out leaps a jet black Wolf. The others do not seem to notice the Wolf at first, but I am transfixed by his presence. His eyes are glowing pits of flame and he glowers at the Phoenix and at all of us. It’s as if, he too, understands the havoc these people will cause. I feel akin to the Wolf, his disdain is mine.

Breathless with excitement, I focus in on my Wolf. He slinks away from the Phoenix and stares at the small group. Hatred burning in his eyes. “Yes,” I think to myself, “they will only hurt your world, you are right to hate them.” I stealthily creep across the wasted ruin of the land. I feel compelled to touch him. I must make sure he understands that I alone am different, that he is mine and I am his. I creep up behind him and reach tentative fingers to his fur. As I make contact with him, he turns a viscous grin on me and makes as if to strike. I am rooted to my spot, he just doesn’t understand yet. But, if I am to die what a glorious way to die. In the grip of my Wolf.

Suddenly I hear a screech and the Phoenix dives in and attacks my Wolf. “Noooo!” I screech, but nobody hears me. I step back, transfixed by what unfolds before me. The two begin to fight. A lengthy and bloody battle ensues. I stand by and silently cheer my Wolf on. As they roll across the wasted ruins, their blood pours forth and forms golden lines across the land. I stand transfixed as I realize what this battle is creating. The golden fire of blood from the Phoenix and the black bile blood of the Wolf form the powerful lines of what will be the basis of the new world. Exhausted and spent, the two end their Dance of Power and lie on either side of the newly formed Pattern, which will eventually be named the Dance.

Now is my chance! I glance around and see the others transfixed by the scene. No one seems to be moving. I see my chance and I take it.

As I step onto the Dance, I am filled with excitement. Now is the time and I am the first! I will take this opportunity to build the world as it should be. With each step I take, I build images in my mind, green grass, blooming flowers, a world of peace, of tranquility. A world without Shadows even. My new world will not have the responsibility of Shadow worlds on its shoulders. I am exhilarated, I feel the power flowing into me, through me, and back out. And then, there is a slight change. I notice the power feels different, I glance behind me and am despaired to see Jinx step on the Dance too. if only I could have finished without her interference! Damn her, damn this world. I’ll beat her though, if I have anything on these people, I have endurance. I traverse the Dance until Jinx is forced to step off. I am barely winded when I finally step off myself.

I look around, my Wolf is gone, slunk off to get away from the objects of his disdain. I agree. I stick around for awhile. I can see parts of myself in this new world. The environment is healthy and breathtakingly beautiful. If anything, I was successful at building a strong natural environment. I can almost feel my influence in the air, in the trees, its as if the wind is whispering to me. Julian would have been proud, this is his Arden. But I am not alone. As I watch Steed and then Keldian step onto the Dance, I am filled with a sadness. They will try to re-create the world they knew. I wanted something more. They or their children will destroy this world just as our parents destroyed our world before this. Without a word to anyone I follow my Wolf. He has left a small trail behind him. I will find the Wolf, I will know the Wolf, and together we will build the world that should have been.


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R. Cal Westray, Jr.
Revised: February 13, 2010.

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