Celeste watches the sunset from her living room. Humans can do what they want with the world, they were still hard pressed to do anything to a sunset.
She sips her wine. From somewhere, a speaker emits a peaceful tune, timed to go well with that time of day, that weather, the season, and a million other variables that Celeste didn't yet know.
Her world is one of magic and technology, a strange meeting of the old ways and the new. Of course, technology is always more popular, being cheaper, faster, and easier, but Celeste manages to stay somewhere between the two worlds.
She runs a hand through her soft brown hair. Finishing her wine, she decides another would be perfect, and gets up to go to the kitchen.
She nearly drops her glass when she turns and comes face to face to a tall, lanky man with a sombre expression on his face. Her father.
"Father, what A nice surprise. I was about to get a glass of wine. Would you care for one?" She said in a melodic voice kept gentle. It had been a while but then there are greater things that drive people to do what they did.
Her hand rested gently against the banister of the stairs. A faint change of the air causes one of the luxurious purple flowers that always seem in bloom to caress her hand. You could barely see the actual railing and most of the walls through the flowers she planted into the actually frame work of the place.
Then it gave it the appearance of a tropical paradise, which was a nice change from the metal and cement of the buildings today.
He nods. "Wine would be fine. Red if you please." He finds a chair and sits, holding a folded piece of paper, apparently oblivious to the sunset, flowers, or beauty around him.
Stepping out of the entrance hall, moved towards the kitchen. Taking another glass out of the cabinet, she fills both with red wine bringing them back to where her father has found a seat in the entrance hall. "Something new to stretch the thought?" She asks politely as she brings back the glasses. Handing one to her father.
He shrugs, handing her the parchment. "Your future is yours, daughter." He takes the wine and sips it, deep in thought.
Takes the parchment reading it carefully.
"By Royal Decree: All blood of Amber shall be brought before the king and his advisors to be acknowledged by the crown, and given their birthright. Compliance is necessary."
"There is some crisis or does he just want to find everyone?" Looks at the note "Then it would always be handy to have some other place beside here to have experience with."
He nods. "True. But this is no normal place. This is your heritage." He sips his wine again.
"Then all the better that I should know what this place is like." takes a sip of her own wine.
He is silent for a moment, and Celeste knows what this means. Benedict has always been quiet. But over the years she had learned that there are a million different ways to be quiet, and Benedict invented them all. Right now he was quiet because he was trying not to influence her. Their minds and passions weren't alike, but he respected her intelligence and didn't try to drive her to something he might have proffered. He nods. "Very well. Pack."
Celeste races up the stairs leaving the glass of wine on a small table. With in seconds she is coming down with a pre-packed bag. "I've always kept this handy in case you've even needed me to go some where in a hurry." Smiles gently.
He smiles, puts down his glass, the motions her to his side. He takes out a deck of cards and shuffles through them. "What have you studied lately?"
"Advanced a bit of sorcery, integrating it in with my computer main frame so that it can now detect and analyse sources of magic." shrugs. "Something I had been meaning on putting together." Moves carefully to his side, waiting on his actions.
He nods approvingly, and she can almost feel him stockpiling the information somewhere in his mind. A question from Benedict was never an idle question.
He pulls out the card and concentrates. She's seen him do this before. It's some sort of magic he carries around, mostly for transportation purposes. Never did say where he got them, though. He takes her arm, and she watches as the picture grows real. A village. People moving about and talking. The odd dog or cat.
They step forward, and suddenly they are there. She notices the air is a bit cooler where they are, and the sun isn't so low in the sky.
"What is this place?" Her eyes darting around with out her head moving. Taking in all that there is to this place, climate, people, geography, visual culture.
The place looks like a picture out of a history book, perhaps some chapter on post-renaissance cities. There's no technology that she can see, and everyone wears old-fashioned clothes. If it weren't for the reality of the situation, she would think they had stepped into the middle of a RenFair. Benedict walks forward. "This is where you agreed to go. It's called Amber."
"I have no problems coming here, I was inquiring as to what the place was like. There's probably more to this place then what meets the eye." Celeste pulls out a palm top like computer, trying first with its normal battery. Then seeing if the sorcery one she just installed works.
He replies over his shoulder. "It's a good idea to assume that about everything."
Celeste clicks in the first battery and waits. Nothing. She takes the battery out and tries the second, sorcery powered one. The screen lights up, and a start-up sound plays. Benedict turns a bit, and regards her creation. A slight smile plays at the corners of his mouth. "I see it works." He looks at Celeste. "The first you tried was normal?"
"Yes the first was its normal power source. The second a sorcery based powers source. Which answers that complete technology does not work here. Where as the something with Sorcery possibly other sources will. The physical laws here promote the time shown. There was no technology in the primitive times. As there is none here." Smiles "Good thing I decided to also learn the old ways. Then again I was never good with projectile weapons unless I had a minute to work out the physics behind it."
He nods, and continues up through the village. "I have something to show you."
Follows Benedict, taking notes on the local on the palm top. Catching a stone with her toe every once in a while tossing it in front of her as she walks checking the gravity here.
The rocks fall, as rocks are wont to do. Gravity seems no stronger or weaker here than in her home.
Benedict leads her away from town, and for the first time, she sees a castle looming in the distance, settled into the mountain, as if it were about to take a nap. The castle looks unreal, and some parts, she notices, don't look like they should be architecturally possible.
"So that's Castle Amber?" She asked as it appeared they approached.
He nods. "That's the beginning. Everything starts here."
"Glad to hear it."
He shrugs, and they come to a rise. She sees the castle more clearly from here. "The man in there is not your king. He is _a_ king. he knows this, and may ask for your fealty." He descends the hill. "Do you know your mind on this?"
"Words can be said and given. I will help protect this realm being that it is my heritage. No matter who may hold its crown. My fealty is to the people of this place not those that would think to know best for them."
Benedict stops and looks at Celeste. "Fealty to a king is different. You can protect a land without swearing loyalties." He walks ahead. "I have for years."
"I will tell him that I will protect this place, but under no means of any other. As you have."
Benedict turns to retort, but stops. He blinks, then looks at Celeste. "Meet me here in an hour." He takes a trump out of his pocket, concentrates and is gone.
Nods before he leaves, when he then leaves she looks about where she was left. Looks around seeing the wilderness about her, decides to explore it a bit.
Making good time to a rise in the land. Looking out over a bit of the sea. In the distance a strip of different colored sea. Which adds to the texture of the land. Even as she records all this down. She knows words can not begin to explain the beauty of this place. The fauna, animals she has glanced at. In the distance she saw what she could have almost swore to be a Phoenix.
Checking the time in the corner of the palm top she seeing that she should head back she runs back towards the local that Ben said to meet him at. Racing back to the area.