Never, Never Ever Anger a Shapeshifter!

Well, not exactly, just never anger the character’s player.

It was at one of the GenCon Amber sessions from the days when GenCon was still held at MECCA (before the Midwest Center was built.) As usual, Erick would set up his own little area in the middle of the walkway that stretched across the street between MECCA and the arena building where more events would take place. It was Sunday afternoon, late enough that the convention was shutting down and getting everyone to leave the building. We all wanted to get on with the next session of the campaign but where to go?

Back then, it was still relatively easy to reserve a room at the Hyatt hotel across the street, and that’s where I was staying through to Monday, so I volunteered my room for the game. We all trooped up to my room, Erick sat down on one of the chairs, and everyone else sat or reclined on the beds and we started the session.

What was happening was that Kelcy (Felicia Baker) was in trouble, and I also mean that in the quaint, old-fashioned euphemism meaning she was pregnant, too. It was not a healthy pregnancy. Her shapeshifting powers were out of control, and, as she was the only shapeshifter among the player characters, we didn’t know what to do for her. That’s when Dworkin walked through the wall to help her out. Very graphically, reaching inside her and pulling out black bits of goo, along with her unborn daughter. She, said Dworkin, would be fostered to a house in the Courts of Chaos, the only place she would be able to grow and survive. Nobody was about to say “no” to Dworkin.

Now Erick was a master of pushing players’ buttons and this was a premiere example of him pushing Felicia’s.

Myself, all Damarian knew was that Kelcy was pregnant. I walked out of the door, returned, mimed tossing Felicia an apple and said “Hi, Kelcy: when’s the kid due?”

Felicia’s look to me could have blistered paint. Carol Dodd (Bronwyn) growled something about an apology. Nobody else said a word.

Now, an apology is the worst sort of social faux pas possible in Amber society, but Bronwyn was one of the few player characters Damarian respected. I stood there for several seconds, trying to come up with something that would, in the best sort of light, could, under a very tenuous set of circumstances, might just be thought of as an apology. Erick was sitting across the room, letting me twist in the wind.

Then, he announced that Kelcy’s father entered the room. He was quite succinct: “You’re disturbing her rest. Leave now.”

Kelcy’s dad is Benedict, the warlord of Amber, the eldest of the elders and capable of wiping everyone of us out without breaking a sweat or disturbing his daughter’s rest, or quite likely both at the same time. Damarian had Good Stuff, and it just kicked in. We all left, and I mentally thanked Benedict and Erick for the timely intervention.

But that wasn’t the end of the connection there. Many years later, in fact, the last GenCon Amber session, at an AmberCon, Kelcy along with Elanor and Bronwyn were someplace else, so Kelcy asked Damarian to look after her daughter and keep her from being caught up in the games of power until she was able to decide for herself whether to join them or not. This was when we discovered Prince Martin, under the direction of Princess Llewella, was organizing a war against the Courts of Chaos. My intention was to join the attack then divert Damarian’s personal forces to the house where Kelcy’s daughter was fostered, inform the house that Damarian was there on the express wishes by Kelcy to protect her daughter, request an audience as Damarian’s right as Kelcy’s representative and as a Prince and blood relative, and do what ever would be necessary to fulfill Kelcy’s wishes. At the same time, Damarian’s forces would secure the perimeter of the house and declare it out of bounds for further Amber encroachment.

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