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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Zelazny Roger

«Coming to a Cord», Roger Zelazny

Preface from Pirate Writings: This story takes up the second Amberseries where "The Shroudling and the Guisel" (which appeared in thefirst issue of Realms of Fantasy) left off. It shows the continuingtale of Merlin's strangling cord, Frakir, while telling more about theleftover guisel and the sorcerer responsible for the affair behind the mirror. Flora and the visiting Luke are drawn into the action.

I have been using an occasional short story of late to tie up looseends I'd left hanging in previous Amber books and stories, as well as tocontinue the overall narrative. The first of these stories was "TheSalesman's Tale," featuring Luke and Vialle, which appeared in the February 1994 (#6) issue of Amberzine, and the second was "Blue Horse,Dancing Mountains," which will appear this Summer in the AvoNovacollection of gambling stories, Wheel of Fortune, edited by myself."The Shroudling and the Guisel" was the third Amber story, and "comingto a Cord" is the fourth.

So, if anyone has a burning Amber question, I suggest they send itto me c/o AvoNova and I may be able to straighten the matter out in oneof these stories (I may not, also). And to all you Amber fans, thanksfor hanging around for so long.

It is no fun being tied to a bedpost when you are feeling under theweather. I phased back and forth between visibility and invisibility uncontrollably. On the other wrist, I felt my ability to communicatebeginning to return. My increased sentience had remained with me eversince my strange journey with Merlin in the place between shadows. Butthere was a shock on my return to this reality. Slowly now, I wasrecovering from it, though some of the symptoms were slower in going than others. Consequently, it took me much longer than it normallywould have to unknot myself.

I am Frakir, strangling cord to Merlin--Lord of Amber and Prince ofChaos. Normally, too, he would never have abandoned me like this, inthe blasted apartments of Brand, late Prince of Amber and would-be Lordof the Universe. But he was under a mild spell Brand had actually left about for his son Rinaldo. However, Merlin has such a strong affinitywith Rinaldo--also known as Luke--by virtue of their long association,that the spell latched onto him. He must have shaken it by now, butthat still left me in an awkward position, with him doubtless back inthe Courts.

I did not feel like waiting around with all the rebuilding and redecorating going on. They could decide to chuck the bed, with meattached, and go for all new stuff.

I finished unknotting myself. At least Merlin had used no magicwhen he'd tied me there. On the other hand, it was a tight knot, and Isquirmed for a long while to get myself unlooped. Finally, the thingwas loosened and I was able to undo it. Once I had freed myself from its subtle geometries, I slithered down the bedpost to the ground. Thisleft me in a position to slip away, should a gang of furniture moverssuddenly appear. In fact, it suddenly seemed a good idea to get out ofthe fast traffic lane now.

I moved away from the bed--out of Brand's room and intoMerlin's--wondering what had been the secret of that ring he'd found and put on--the spikard thing.

That it was extremely powerful and drew its energies from manysources was obvious to a being such as myself. That it seemed a thingof the same order as the sword Werewindle was also readily apparent,despite their varied forms to the eye of a human. Suddenly, it occurredto me that Merlin might not notice this, and I began to think that it might be necessary he should.

I crossed his room. I can move like a snake when I would. I haveno ability to transport myself magically like almost everyone else Iknow, so I figured it were best to find someone who did. My onlyproblem was that, in keeping with the family's general policy ofpersonal secrecy on everything from magic to souffle recipes, many of them did not even know I existed.

...And for that matter I didn't know the location of theirapartments, save for Merlin's, Brand's, Random and Vialle's, andMartin's--which Merlin sometimes visited. Random and Vialle's would behard to reach, with all the work that was going on. So I headed off inthe direction of Martin's rooms and slithered under the door when I got there. He had rock posters on most of his walls, as well as thespeakers for a magically powered CD player. He, alas, was absent, and Ihad no idea when he might return.

I went back out into the hall and slithered along it, listening fora familiar voice, checking under doors, into rooms. This went on forsome time before I heard Flora say, "Oh, bother!" from behind a door up the hall. I headed in that direction. She was one of the ones privy tomy existence.

Her door was closed, but I was able to make my way beneath it into ahighly decorated sitting room. She seemed in the process of mending abroken fingernail with some sort of goo.

I crossed the room to her side, maintaining my invisibility, andwrapped myself about her right ankle.

Hello, I said. This is Frakir, Merlin's friend and stranglingcord. Can you help me?

Following a moment of silence, she said, "Frakir! What's happened?What do you need?"

I was inadvertently abandoned, I explained, while Merlin wasunder the influence of a peculiar spell. I need to get in touch with

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