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Mathonwyr stirs, and the first sensation is of a dull ache, then a wet coolness on his head.
He cracks his eyes open, and sees a worried Esta peering over him, applying a damp cloth to his forehead. "What happened?" she whispers.
Flora sits at her breakfast table and sighs. "If I ever doubted you had Amberite blood in you, I got my answer today..."
He ignores his Mother, and instead replies to Esta and in general, "I learned something as well. We entertain Chaosians, and this Jurt fellow has a pet Sorceress that packs a wallop... she appeared from nowhere, and acted very quickly with spellcraft...there is something not right there, it was as if she were a child or a dog, the way Jurt addressed her." Math frowns, "I did not get her name."
"How did I arrive here?"
Esta presses the cloth to his forehead again and draws it back, and he sees it stained red. "A man named Corwin. Your king and uncle?"
Flora explodes at the table. "_Chaosites_?! Where am I supposed to put them?! He didn't say anything about any visitors..." She clenches her fists. "Damn him. Here, I don't even know how many family members to expect because he won't talk about the notes he sent out, and now he's piled diplomats on top of it!" She slams shut her book. "I have to do everything around here." She storms out the door, a tower of barely contained rage.
Esta watches the spectacle and looks back at Math. "She takes her parties seriously, doesn't she?" She looks a bit amazed. "The cuts don't look too bad. If we heal the same, you'll be better inside of a week."
Math nods, "She takes everything seriously." He sits up gingerly, testing himself. " 'If it is worth doing it is worth doing right, dear.' " he says, in a fair imitation of his Mother's tone, if not her voice.
"Did Corwin say anything when he arrived?"
His head spins a moment, but he forces himself up, and eventually the room behaves itself and sits still.
Esta moves up from the floor and sits beside him. "Well, your mom pulled him into the room, and he had you over his shoulder. He tossed you onto the couch, told Flora 'deal with this', muttered something about a duel, then stormed out. She started to follow, but I guess thought better of it and helped me look you over."
She licks her lips and her eyes gleam. "Now, tell me more about it. What's this 'pocket sorceress' about?"
Math shrugs, "The Chaosians had a woman suddenly appear and attack. The way he addressed her was the same way one might address a dog..."
He moves his feet over the edge of the bed, and decides to try and stand.
Esta grabs him by the elbow as he sways, but he manages to keep his feet. She watches him for signs of a relapse into unconsciousness, but he stays upright.
She breathes a small sigh of relief. "Are we still joining the king for dinner? Your mother mentioned something about it while you were out." She pats his hair. "Good thing you keep it a bit longer. Covers the cuts."
"Thanks." Math replies dryly. "I should think we will still be expected to dinner...but I want to get that portrait done first."
Mathonwyr tries to make for the desk, if she helps him there he smiles at her, "Would you mind getting the artist's pad from the hall I dropped it in? Or even from the storeroom? I can give you precise directions...or we can find a servant..."
"I'm betting on the servant. I've seen the size of this place, and I'm not really keen on getting lost." She looks around and finds the calling cord, and waits by the door. She has a few words with a young man who appears a few minutes later.
He leaves, and she returns to the desk, sitting on it facing him. "I'd like to look around the grounds a bit more after dinner. I mean, when you're up to it. And is there anyway we can dig up something less..." She motions to her dress. "Fancy? I'm not used to dresses."
"Not that it isn't lovely..." she quickly adds. "Just... restricting."
Math smiles, "I am afraid you will be in it for a bit longer...I'll try to design something better next time."
"Something is going on with the Chaosians, something I am betting Corwin is unaware of. the question is; What?"
She leans in. "Really? What do you think it is?" She looks at the door. "I think your mother may have gone off to interrogate them."
Math shrugs, "The girl was powerful for her age. Was a normal enough spell, but the force that backed it was extraordinary...a wise move too, it was an indirect effect, so she never challenged my own mind directly." He gingerly stretches, "The other two were of minor consequence, save that neither seemed terribly surprised by the girl's sudden appearance... that one fellow's containment field was interesting enough."
"I cannot say what it is, but they are hiding something...and the way that Jerk or Jurt or whatever his name is acted, he either did not want a terrible diplomatic incident, or he did not want the girl to reveal herself." Math shrugs, "I'll figure it our eventually. The fool insulted me, and I sought to cage him...I shall be magnanimous and leave it be. For now. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I can wait."
Esta looks puzzled. "Why do you care?"
She gets off the desk and paces to the window, and under her dress he can hear her tap her foot. He expression isn't pleasant as she watches the fading sun.
"How _exactly_ were you going to cage him?"
Mathonwyr stands, testing his footing again, "Ah, look at the time. Give me a moment to clean up, and then we should be heading to dinner."
Math smiles winningly, departs briefly, and returns in another striking outfit, this time wearing a bright scarlet tie, to offset the darker tones of his suit. His spectacles are cleaned and sitting
straight, and his hair neatly combed.
"Shall we?" He offers his arm.
She sighs. "Fine. Ignore me."
She takes his arm. "Then off to dinner with us." She looks at him, and grudgingly admits that he looks passable.