Eleanor: The first night

She's shocked when she feels nothing where the sun is-- she can see the glass, but her finger slips through as if it were only air.

As she reaches through, she hears a small clicking noise.

Ellie grins and turns back. /I wonder how that works./ Kneeling again by the door leading downwards, she wonders now where it actually leads to. Carefully, she opens it away from her.

There are no traps as she opens it-- all she sees is a ladder leading down, and darkness. The opening smells of dust and age, like a place that hasn't been aired out in years.

In the next room, she can hear the low tones of Mandor, mixed with the higher ones of Ryoden.

Ellie sits back. Not an opening used by servants then as had been her assumption. /Assumptions again. I'm going to need a lantern or something. A trump would be good too. Just in case./

Decided, she rises and moves through into the other room, steeling herself against what she may see. /Perhaps Mandor will loan me a Trump. And I think I saw a lamp./

She opens the door, and breaths a sigh of relief when she sees that whatever they may have been doing, it's done now. Jurt lies unconscious, his leg freshly bandaged. Ryoden plays with metal bars as Mandor watches calmly, sipping his coffee.

Mandor notes her entrance. "Welcome back. I was just about to get you. We have to wake Jurt, and he won't be pleased. He prefers Ryoden a bit more... open. She takes on after the rest of us, though, some days."

He takes another sip, hiding a smile. "I thought your presence might make him a bit more civil."

Ellie nods "Of course, I'd be glad to help. Jurt has been most kind to me and most helpful."

He smiles and nods to Ryoden. Looking back at Ellie: "I'd never doubt it."

Ryoden hops next to her brother and waves her hand. Jurt stirs, opens his eyes drowsily, then snaps to attention. "What the hell--" he begins to shout, but then catches himself, and sits back, in a bit of a sulk.

"So what's the big idea? I hate sleep spells." Mandor chuckles as Ryoden shows her growing contraption.

"I'm making you a foot because Marrek's asleep, and Mandor has to leave, and I want to go out."

Jurt rolls his eyes. "Glad you're doing this so selflessly."

Ellie smiles "Jurt, may I borrow a Trump, please. I found something in the room which may explain how our unexplained visitor got in and which I was just going to have a look about."

Mandor raises an eyebrow. "Alone?"

Jurt looks through his deck and produces one of himself. "What did you find?"

Ellie hesitates then replies "I noticed an irregularity in the room when I went in. My room wasn't searched last night. I eventually found a door and the mechanism to open it. A passage leads down, but it's very dark and old, smells musty. I would prefer to explore it

with another or more yes, but I also didn't want to disturb anyone."

Mandor shakes his head. "By all means, disturb away." He puts down his coffee and stands. "How long will it take to explore? I will be accompanying you." He takes off his jacket and rests in on the couch.

Jurt looks nervous.

Ellie answers honestly "I don't know how long it will take. If you will wait please for a few moments, I'll rejoin you shortly. I'd just like to let my father know where I will be, especially as it looks to have been part of the original room."

Mandor gently takes her elbow and leads her to the couch. "Why does his Majesty need to know? If you tell him, he's likely to send a force of men to investigate, and then the secret will be out. Forebear, and you may have a secret way in and out of the castle, which is no small piece of insurance."

Jurt chews his lip and says nothing.

Ellie smiles politely and rises "If it is indeed a potentially secret way, as you suggest, Lord Mandor, then I'm sure my father will also see the wisdom of few knowing about it. And given my recent impulsiveness, it would be wise to, at the very least, inform him and so indicate that I have some degree of responsibility. Would you not agree, Lord Mandor?"

Mandor steeples his fingers. "Perhaps you should rethink telling your father. He has problems keeping his secrets, you being an example. A secret way out is also a secret way in..."

Ellie quietly says "The first part I cannot agree or disagree with. I haven't been here long enough to know that. The second is true I agree. However, given the identity of the previous owner, my father would probably see a lack of notice from me as particularly irresponsible and act accordingly." Ellie smiles at Mandor "Amber looks such an interesting place to see. I would like to actually be able to leave the Castle to explore it."

He smiles back. "And if you ever happened to be confined to the castle, you'll have a way to do just that."

Ellie chuckles softly "Touche, Lord Mandor. Trust me though. I don't even want to guess how many years I will be grounded for if I do this. And there is no guarantee that this is a way out." She smiles and backs up, adding "And when all is said and done, there is much I yet need to learn with Corwin on my side than against me. Thank you for your good advice. I will return shortly."

She nods and moves quickly to Corwin's chamber, tapping lightly on the door.

She listens, but hears nothing. No shuffling, no footsteps. Mandor sidles up to her, sighing.

"I suppose if you must play the part of the dutiful daughter, I can't stop you. But don't you think the throne room would be a better place to seek your father?"

Ellie nods, then hesitates. /Fiona's his advisor and is like to be in the Throne room. Really not a good idea for her to know a way into my room./

She turns to Mandor and smiles politely "I don't suppose you have a Trump of my father I may borrow. Please?"

He smiles back. "No, but I know where we can get one. It's about time, anyway. But we have to make a brief stop." He takes her arm and guides her down the hallway and down a back stair. "It is well past time you got a tour of your own castle."

Ellie smiles at him "Thank you, Lord Mandor. This really is very kind of you." A thought strikes her and she adds "I take it you've visited the castle before? And a brief stop where?"

He smiles, a tinge of wickedness at the corners of his mouth. "A gentlemen never tells. But for all intents and purposes, I was here for treaties after a very nasty war."

The come to another floor, and he continues down another hallway, this one somewhat taller and grander than the last. "I need my memory refreshed on some things before we get you a trump deck."

Ellie looks around, taking in where she is and replies "I'd rather not visit the throne room though, if you please. Why was there a war? And who was it between?"

Mandor laughs. "Why, between your very dear family up here and Chaos. A bloody, nasty, horrible war in which many were lost not only to their opponents, but their kinsman who saw it as a chance to further their own position. We're mortal enemies, didn't you know that, dear?"

Ellie shakes her head and replies "I didn't know that. I'm sorry. War is always horrible. Are we really enemies?"

He laughs. "Of course! We're at opposite ends of the universe. It's fate that we be mortal enemies. Of course, we usually only use this fact nowadays to avoid long ceremonies and the such that the other might hold to imprison us for a few hours. No blood has been shed in

many years."

They turn a corner, and Ellie is surprised by a gallery-- over a dozen paintings, so lifelike she wonders at the fact they don't move. Mandor walks about, studying them, humming softly.

Ellie looks too at the paintings, studying them both with an artist's eye and the eye of a person seeking answers, familiarity.

The familiarity is easy to find-- Corwin, the woman Deirdre, Julian. Some from the trumps. Others she doesn't know, but can see the family resemblance.

Mandor stops at one, one of the man she remembered Corwin called Bleys. Mandor appears to concentrate, then slowly his features shift and change colour. Several minutes tick by, and eventually he comes to resemble the man in the picture. He smiles at Ellie.

"Useful, no? Maybe you should study it."

Ellie, having watched in fascination, replies "I don't really know much about shapeshifting, Lord Mandor. Can it be learned or is it like pattern or logrus and something one is born with?"

Eleanor: The first night

She's shocked when she feels nothing where the sun is-- she can see the glass, but her finger slips through as if it were only air.

As she reaches through, she hears a small clicking noise.

Ellie grins and turns back. /I wonder how that works./ Kneeling again by the door leading downwards, she wonders now where it actually leads to. Carefully, she opens it away from her.

There are no traps as she opens it-- all she sees is a ladder leading down, and darkness. The opening smells of dust and age, like a place that hasn't been aired out in years.

In the next room, she can hear the low tones of Mandor, mixed with the higher ones of Ryoden.

Ellie sits back. Not an opening used by servants then as had been her assumption. /Assumptions again. I'm going to need a lantern or something. A trump would be good too. Just in case./

Decided, she rises and moves through into the other room, steeling herself against what she may see. /Perhaps Mandor will loan me a Trump. And I think I saw a lamp./

She opens the door, and breaths a sigh of relief when she sees that whatever they may have been doing, it's done now. Jurt lies unconscious, his leg freshly bandaged. Ryoden plays with metal bars as Mandor watches calmly, sipping his coffee.

Mandor notes her entrance. "Welcome back. I was just about to get you. We have to wake Jurt, and he won't be pleased. He prefers Ryoden a bit more... open. She takes on after the rest of us, though, some days."

He takes another sip, hiding a smile. "I thought your presence might make him a bit more civil."

Ellie nods "Of course, I'd be glad to help. Jurt has been most kind to me and most helpful."

He smiles and nods to Ryoden. Looking back at Ellie: "I'd never doubt it."

Ryoden hops next to her brother and waves her hand. Jurt stirs, opens his eyes drowsily, then snaps to attention. "What the hell--" he begins to shout, but then catches himself, and sits back, in a bit of a sulk.

"So what's the big idea? I hate sleep spells." Mandor chuckles as Ryoden shows her growing contraption.

"I'm making you a foot because Marrek's asleep, and Mandor has to leave, and I want to go out."

Jurt rolls his eyes. "Glad you're doing this so selflessly."

Ellie smiles "Jurt, may I borrow a Trump, please. I found something in the room which may explain how our unexplained visitor got in and which I was just going to have a look about."

Mandor raises an eyebrow. "Alone?"

Jurt looks through his deck and produces one of himself. "What did you find?"

Ellie hesitates then replies "I noticed an irregularity in the room when I went in. My room wasn't searched last night. I eventually found a door and the mechanism to open it. A passage leads down, but it's very dark and old, smells musty. I would prefer to explore it

with another or more yes, but I also didn't want to disturb anyone."

Mandor shakes his head. "By all means, disturb away." He puts down his coffee and stands. "How long will it take to explore? I will be accompanying you." He takes off his jacket and rests in on the couch.

Jurt looks nervous.

Ellie answers honestly "I don't know how long it will take. If you will wait please for a few moments, I'll rejoin you shortly. I'd just like to let my father know where I will be, especially as it looks to have been part of the original room."

Mandor gently takes her elbow and leads her to the couch. "Why does his Majesty need to know? If you tell him, he's likely to send a force of men to investigate, and then the secret will be out. Forebear, and you may have a secret way in and out of the castle, which is no small piece of insurance."

Jurt chews his lip and says nothing.

Ellie smiles politely and rises "If it is indeed a potentially secret way, as you suggest, Lord Mandor, then I'm sure my father will also see the wisdom of few knowing about it. And given my recent impulsiveness, it would be wise to, at the very least, inform him and so indicate that I have some degree of responsibility. Would you not agree, Lord Mandor?"

Mandor steeples his fingers. "Perhaps you should rethink telling your father. He has problems keeping his secrets, you being an example. A secret way out is also a secret way in..."

Ellie quietly says "The first part I cannot agree or disagree with. I haven't been here long enough to know that. The second is true I agree. However, given the identity of the previous owner, my father would probably see a lack of notice from me as particularly irresponsible and act accordingly." Ellie smiles at Mandor "Amber looks such an interesting place to see. I would like to actually be able to leave the Castle to explore it."

He smiles back. "And if you ever happened to be confined to the castle, you'll have a way to do just that."

Ellie chuckles softly "Touche, Lord Mandor. Trust me though. I don't even want to guess how many years I will be grounded for if I do this. And there is no guarantee that this is a way out." She smiles and backs up, adding "And when all is said and done, there is much I yet need to learn with Corwin on my side than against me. Thank you for your good advice. I will return shortly."

She nods and moves quickly to Corwin's chamber, tapping lightly on the door.

She listens, but hears nothing. No shuffling, no footsteps. Mandor sidles up to her, sighing.

"I suppose if you must play the part of the dutiful daughter, I can't stop you. But don't you think the throne room would be a better place to seek your father?"

Ellie nods, then hesitates. /Fiona's his advisor and is like to be in the Throne room. Really not a good idea for her to know a way into my room./

She turns to Mandor and smiles politely "I don't suppose you have a Trump of my father I may borrow. Please?"

He smiles back. "No, but I know where we can get one. It's about time, anyway. But we have to make a brief stop." He takes her arm and guides her down the hallway and down a back stair. "It is well past time you got a tour of your own castle."

Ellie smiles at him "Thank you, Lord Mandor. This really is very kind of you." A thought strikes her and she adds "I take it you've visited the castle before? And a brief stop where?"

He smiles, a tinge of wickedness at the corners of his mouth. "A gentlemen never tells. But for all intents and purposes, I was here for treaties after a very nasty war."

The come to another floor, and he continues down another hallway, this one somewhat taller and grander than the last. "I need my memory refreshed on some things before we get you a trump deck."

Ellie looks around, taking in where she is and replies "I'd rather not visit the throne room though, if you please. Why was there a war? And who was it between?"

Mandor laughs. "Why, between your very dear family up here and Chaos. A bloody, nasty, horrible war in which many were lost not only to their opponents, but their kinsman who saw it as a chance to further their own position. We're mortal enemies, didn't you know that, dear?"

Ellie shakes her head and replies "I didn't know that. I'm sorry. War is always horrible. Are we really enemies?"

He laughs. "Of course! We're at opposite ends of the universe. It's fate that we be mortal enemies. Of course, we usually only use this fact nowadays to avoid long ceremonies and the such that the other might hold to imprison us for a few hours. No blood has been shed in

many years."

They turn a corner, and Ellie is surprised by a gallery-- over a dozen paintings, so lifelike she wonders at the fact they don't move. Mandor walks about, studying them, humming softly.

Ellie looks too at the paintings, studying them both with an artist's eye and the eye of a person seeking answers, familiarity.

The familiarity is easy to find-- Corwin, the woman Deirdre, Julian. Some from the trumps. Others she doesn't know, but can see the family resemblance.

Mandor stops at one, one of the man she remembered Corwin called Bleys. Mandor appears to concentrate, then slowly his features shift and change colour. Several minutes tick by, and eventually he comes to resemble the man in the picture. He smiles at Ellie.

"Useful, no? Maybe you should study it."

Ellie, having watched in fascination, replies "I don't really know much about shapeshifting, Lord Mandor. Can it be learned or is it like pattern or logrus and something one is born with?"