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once more.
I realized I had lived through the plague.
I took a man's cloak I found in the wardrobe and took some money I found in a drawer.
Then I went forth into London and the night, in a year of the plague, looking for something. . . .
I had no recollection of who I was or what I was doing there.
That was how it had started.
I was well into the Pattern now, and the sparks flashed continually about my feet, reaching to the
height of my knees. I no longer knew which direction I faced, or where Random and Deirdre and Moire
stood. The currents swept through me and it seemed my eyeballs
were vibrating. Then came a pins-and-need!e feeling in my cheeks and a coldness on the back of my
neck, I clenched my teeth to keep them from chattering.
The auto accident had not given me my amnesia. I had been without full memory since the reign of
Elizabeth I. Flora must have concluded that the recent accident had restored me. She had known of my
condition. I was suddenly struck by the thought that she was on that Shadow Earth mainly to keep tabs
on me.
Since the sixteenth century. then?
That I couldn't say. I'd find out, though.
I took six more rapid steps, reaching the end of an arc and coming to the beginning place of a straight
line.
I set my foot upon it, and with each step that I took, another barrier began to rise against me. It was
the Second Veil.
There was a right-angle turn, then another, then another.
I was a prince of Amber. It was true. There had been fifteen brothers and six were dead. There had
been eight Sisters, and two were dead, possibly four. We had spent much of our time in wandering in
Shadow, or in our own universes. It is an academic, though valid philosophical question, as to whether
one with power over Shadow could create his own universe. Whatever the ultimate answer, from a
practical point we could.
Another curve began, and it was as though I were walking in glue as I moved slowly along it.
One, two, three, four. . . I raised my fiery boots and let them down again.
My head throbbed and my heart felt as though it were fibrillating to pieces.
Amber!
The going was suddenly easy once more, as I remembered Amber.
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Amber was the greatest city which had ever existed or ever would exist. Amber had always been and
always would be, and every other city, everywhere every other city that existed was but a reflection of a
shadow of some phase of Amber. Amber, Amber, Amber . . . I remember thee. I shall never forget thee
again. I guess, deep inside me, I never really did, through all those centuries I wandered the Shadow
Earth, for often at night my drearns were troubled by images of thy green and golden spires and thy
sweeping terraces. I remember
thy wide promenades and the decks of flowers, golden and red. I recall the sweetness of thy airs, and
the temples, palaces, and pleasances thou containest, contained, will always contain, Amber, immortal
city from which every other city has taken its shape, I cannot forget thee, even now, nor forget that day
on the Pattern of
Rebma when I remembered thee within thy reflected walls, fresh from a meal after starvation and the
loving of Moire, but nothing could compare with the pleasure and the love of remembering thee; and even
now, as I stand contemplating the Courts of Chaos, telling this story to the only one present to hear, that
perhaps he may repeat it, that it will not die after I have died within; even now, I remember thee with
love, city that I was born to rule. . . .
Ten paces, then a swirling filigree of fire confronted me, I essayed it, my sweat vanishing into the
waters as fast as it sprang forth.
It was tricky, so devilish tricky, and it seemed that the waters of the room suddenly moved in great
currents which threatened to sweep me from the Pattern. I struggled on, resisting them. Instinctively, I [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]