Poles. It is said that there are two, that they are opposites. But what if I were to tell you that there was a third, and I was standing next to it. Now what would you say if I told you there might be more, and that that number might be growing.
I looked to my right where the stump of a once great tree, a gift from Ygg I have been told, sits gnarled and burned. I once tried counting the rings but I lost count somewhere around two hundred, and covered in soot, I had declined my sisters invitation to count again. Genevieve, my sister… what I would not give to see your bright green eyes, the vibrant red hair framing your face, your high cheek bones, but I digress, you have been missing for some twenty years, and how I have looked for you. Yes, a digression.
I gazed past the blackened stump, the land beyond is barren, what little grass left is brown and trampled flat. I watch as a hawk lands far afield, hops once, twice, and takes to the air again, something, a snake perhaps, clutched in its talons.
I felt the sharp point of the blade in the small of my back, followed by the faint tickle of a trickle of blood. I look over my shoulder, wriggling my hands against the thick piece of leather that bound them tight, but to no avail. My wrists were raw from countless other struggles against my bonds. I smirked and lunged forward, hoping to place my foot upon it, the blue glow enticing me, flaring, almost cheering as I drew near.
But it was not to be. My captors yanked on the cruel leash attached to my bonds, and then beat me with it, the leather slicing through my already blood stained blue shirt. I was cuffed across the mouth as well, the taste of my blood joining the dust from the long road we had traveled.
I spat towards the glowing lines embedded in the stone before us, and one of my captors, I think his name was Haz, dove and caught the glob of saliva and blood before it could make contact with the ground. He rose with a disgusted look on his face, wiping his hands on his dark grey trousers.
“That is a dangerous game you are playing,” Franz said as he walked around to where I could see him.
I spat again, hitting him square in the face.
As he removed a handkerchief from his pocket, he issued a curt nod that had me beaten again while he took the time to wipe off his angular features before blowing his long, sharp nose in the small piece of fabric and shoving it down the front of my shirt. “I believe some of that is yours.” He sneered at me before continuing, “Now Aidin, What is it you know about Corwin’s Pattern?”
I looked at Franz again, and could almost see his resemblance to Genevieve. Almost, his hair was blonde like his father’s, but he had the same high, protruding cheekbones, and the same green eyes. “You have had the same education I have had,” I tell him.
“But you’ve been here before, there are even rumors that you have,” he cast a disdainful glance toward the Pattern, “walked it.”
I snorted, “I barely made it through the one back in Amber and you think I would have walked another one? Let alone one we barely know anything about.”
His perfect teeth, although they had not always been that way, shown through his cruel smile as he took a step toward the Pattern.
I half expected a Pattern ghost, maybe of Corwin himself, to stop Franz, but I was not that lucky. As he took another step toward Corwin’s Pattern, he removed his belt, letting his blade fall to the ground with it. “Well then, I guess it is time to find out,” he said as he placed his foot upon the start of the glowing path.