Lullaby (for a stormy night)

Skye hadn't been joking at all. She is seriously skived out by what looked like Oberon in the hall. She leans against the wall beside Saffron's seat, arms crossed over her chest and watching the empty room that better stay that way.

The room does indeed remain empty as Saffron reaches out to the card, trying to contact Random. There's a moment of almost contact, but it's obvious that Random is currently blocking all calls. Perhaps he's concentrating heavily on something, making it difficult to get through.

Saffron sighs and gives up once she's sure he won't answer. "No luck, I'm afraid," she says, looking up. "Do we want to try and find him the normal way, or should I just call Aunt Fiona?"

She shrugs. "We are here, your cards are out; may as well try. Then we will go waylay a page, servant, or guard and find him that way. I will be certainly cranky by the time we track him down."

"We will have to do something about your crankiness, then," Saffron answers with a smile. "Later." She switches to Fiona's card and reaches for her instead.

Skye remains wary while Saffron is in her call. Fortunately it is only a minute or so before she is done. Skye straightens from her slouch against the wall when she sees the silent conversation has come to an end. She quirks a curious yet wary eyebrow at her lover. "What's the damage?"

Saffron sighs and shakes her head. "'Investigate it, take Skye along in case you need a sword' is the short version," she answers. "She agreed that it sounds like Oberon, but that he's definitely dead. It could be a construct; apparently Merlin encountered some constructs that he believes were Pattern-based, though Aunt Fiona isn't so sure." She smiles slightly, the expression a bit tilted. "So I guess now we go look for the King…"

"Merlin," Skye scoffs. "Idiot. Shall we start downstairs or up?"

"Throne room," Saffron answers. "Since that's where we saw him last."

Moving to open the door, Skye checks out in the hall before standing back and making a sweeping gesture to Saffron. "After you, my lady."

"Is it 'my lady' now?" Saffron asks, clearly amused, as she moves out into the hall. "Can't that wait for the throne room?"

Leaning over, Skye whispers in her ear; "You have always been my lady."

Out in the hallway, as the two assume their 'public' faces, Skye catches sight of a tall figure, fair of skin, but black of hair, with a neatly trimmed beard. Her first thought, that it was Corwin, is put to lie, as this figure is both slightly taller, and thinner seeming.

Like the earlier apparition, this one, too, walks out of their view and seems to disappear.

Skye freezes, jerking to a stop. She blinks at the spot and then scowls. "I am not amused by this turn of events, Saffron."

Saffron halts a step or so beyond and turns to follow the other woman's gaze. "I know." She frowns slightly, her fingers tapping one-two-three-four against her skirt. "That's it," the sorceress announces after another moment's pause. "We're sleeping at the house tonight. It's still in Amber; that's close enough."

"That was a Faiellan," Skye states, and she is a touch pale under her tan as she continues looking at the place the apparition disappeared from view. "It had to be." She draws a breath. "I want to be away from here. Let's just find Random and get out."

"Yeah," Saffron agrees uneasily. "You remember that bottle of wine we were saving for a special occasion? I think we're going to open it tonight…" She sighs and starts moving down the hall again. "I hope he's not too hard to find."

The spot where the apparition disappeared holds the same type of power as she had felt previously. Again, it remains elusive. In fact, had she not already been predisposed to consider it a different power, the touch - while still somewhat alien - could indeed be taken for Pattern based on a brief touch. If such were what Merlin ran into, it became easier to see how he might have considered them of Pattern.

"Wine?" Skye snorts. She peers suspiciously down a branching hallway. "I am breaking out that bottle of scotch Gerard gave me for my birthday."

"How about both?" Saffron suggests. She is pointedly not looking down branching hallways, as though pretending they don't exist is going to prevent her having to encounter another apparition. "And enormous quantities of chocolate. And perhaps steak, if I have any beef."

Nothing more happens until they approach the main stairs down. Coming up those stairs is Random himself, a practice sword in hand and looking like he's been very active. He nods a greeting to both as he steps into the hall, then he sighs.

"You both have the aspect of someone who has received bad news. Can it wait? I'm calling the others in tomorrow to speak with them. I've already been learning more than I like, and I want to get it all in at the same time."

Skye looks uncertainly at Saffron. "I do not think so, Your Majesty." She faces Random again. "There are things walking these halls. People. At least one who is known to be — dead."

"Constructs of some sort is the current theory," Saffron supplies. "Not Pattern-based, but similar enough that they could be mistaken for such - which Aunt Fiona thinks was the case, as she thinks Merlin may have encountered beings like these." She sighs. "The first one looked unnervingly like your father. The second looked like he belonged to our section of the family." Her head tilts slightly to indicate Skye in the 'our'.

Random sighs. "Tomorrow." He holds up a placating hand. "I'll let the guards know, and if any more show up, we'll deal with it then. But there are obviously some very odd things going on - more than this - and I want to bring them all up at once."

Skye shrugs. "They don't seem to be harming anything but our nerves. They just appear and then walk away, vanishing. But it would have been a nasty surprise for you to suddenly walk into Oberon. It was for us." She purses her lips briefly before regarding Random to inquire respectfully. "What time tomorrow?

Saffron nods in agreement. "I don't think either of them were around long enough for us to talk to them, even." Then she waits politely for the answer to Skye's question.

Random considers for a moment. "Ten O'Clock. The privy council chambers. This is not something for the full Court, even if they were all here."

"We will be there," Skye nods. She gives Random's practice sword a look and then smiles slightly. "If you will excuse us then, I am in need of an after spar bath now that we've informed you of your uninvited guests." Far be it from her to point out Random could use one too.

"Absolutely," Saffron agrees, giving a nod of her own. She takes a half-step back, ready to head back to Skye's rooms, but she just can't help the instinct to wait to be dismissed that makes her stop there.

Random nods to both of them in dismissal.

"I'll see you both in the morning. Until then. Maybe you'll feel more comfortable in the city - just as long as you are here on time."

"That sounds like a very good idea," Skye agrees. She salutes Random and then turns to Saffron.

"I need to go back to my rooms first."

Saffron nods. "I thought so. Shall we?"

"We shall," she nods and turns to start back the way they came, and leave Random to his shower and hopefully an uninteresting day.

Saffron moves with her, offering Random a smile and a slight wave as they depart.

Skye walks beside her in watchful silence until they are further from the King and closer to her rooms. "Did not Fiona say you should investigate these?" she asks, turning to look at Saffron. "Though I am not sure how you are supposed to do that with random appearing and disappearing ghostly apparitions."

"She did," Saffron agrees. "But she also said to bring you with me. And you, my dear, are frazzled right now." She smiles affectionately at the brunette. "So we're going to go home and relax, and come at this fresh in the morning."

TOCHome Fires

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