The Crimson Crown
“Things that are broken can be put back together and made better. This works for people too.”
His hair was a dirty blonde or light brown, changing depending on the light. He held himself calmly and stood showing just his right profile, the setting sun silouetted behind him. A katana styled sword was bared in his left hand. He wore a warrior’s kimono that changed from red to a blend of colors and patterns below the waist. His eyes showed a deep, unwavering calm, yet I knew it was similar to that of the quiet which fills the center of a hurricane.
-Naxx describing his own Trump
Heraldry: Crimson. White Trump with black runic design on it with an angled katana piercing through the center.
Colors: Red and black.
Theme Song: None yet.
Dislikes: Abuse of power.
Shadows: Arganon, Marr
I enjoy an adventure through shadow now and again, though it seems they won’t stop occurring as long as I journey with my cousins. It’s not a problem as long as my wife and daughter remain safe.
The storm lords are an interesting folk. Do they have power outside of their own shadow, like the patchwork king? If so they could prove valuable allies, and Bleys would be wise to ally with them. I think he’s taking grandfather’s approach with conquering these worlds, and while it worked for grandpa, I’m not sure Bleys has the wherewithal to achieve what he did. We’ll see…
I’m excited to speak with Aunt Fi in Atlantis. Is there news from Amber? Does she know the trick to making Trump connect across the Patterns? Hopefully, it is just a matter of thinking in a certain way when drawing the Trump, much as it was when I first arrived here. My father and I may not be friends, but I do still care about him as a son does. Plus, I know if anything happens to me, he’ll take care of Julessia.
Gin and I WILL be going back to deal with the Dead King and his ilk. Such a thing reminds me of some old horrors I once experienced out in shadow, and I make it a point to bring ruination to such things before they have a chance to spread so far.
One other thing, Emily, a storm lord who seems she’d rather be a boy than a girl from what I could tell, seemed very interested and forthcoming towards us, more than her relatives. I think I might Trump her soon and she if she wants to journey with us and learn what she can. Plus, I offer her a new Trump at some point where she doesn’t look so
girl as she put it. My artist eye missed that; I should have drawn her to look even more boyish.
Oh yes, the frozen flower room made a great piece of art. I hope to find more of its kind out in shadow to add to my collections.
I nearly lost the two people I care about the most, my wife and my daughter. The pattern is both a curse and blessing to those of Amber birth, granting us power in exchange for pain. If only those of shadow could obtain it as well, my wife wouldn’t be missing most of her body.
The nanobots are doing their job and her and Julessia’s lives are saved. Julessia will hopefully recover first, and then I’m going to tell her she gets to watch over her mom as she heals. She put me and the others in jeopardy, though in reality if Selfeen hadn’t interfered we wouldn’t have been in as much trouble. She’s a stubborn woman. I don’t know why she didn’t trust me to take care of our daughter. Perhaps she saw something from where she stood that I didn’t? It’s unfortunate, but it’s good to know I can count on my cousins to care for my family. I owe some debt, hopefully Trumps of whatever they care for will be payment enough.
Amber is falling, somehow I feel the eternal city will not be the same even if we should return to her. I won’t say I had a great fondness for the place. I tried to keep my family away from it, for fear my relatives would use them against me, or that what just happened, happened. If I knew my cousins were more kind than my aunts and uncles, I might have brought them their sooner.
Regnum has all sorts of problems, and uncle Bleys has a powerful enemy known as Patches. He reminds me of the stories father told me of Dworkin, yet maybe he’s a bit more sane than my great grandfather. A part of me doesn’t want to leave this place until my family is healed, yet they are safe for the moment, and that old desire of exploration and knowledge to be found is pulling at me. I want to speak with aunt Fi and see what word she’s had from Amber. Even if we can’t go back for the moment, I’d like reports of how my father is faring over there against Chaos.
Just an afterthought to myself, I may have been too soft on Julessia growing up. Likely me trying to go too far away from how my father raised me. Though he took a soft hand with Ginn. I guess as the first child he used me as a learning experience…
I’m making my background blurbs public now since I was only keeping them secret for Trump purposes, but everyone knows my Trump powers, so…!
Factual Background (Story Background Below)
167 years old
Born on the shadow Arganon, Julian and Mariuni raised Naxx to be a strong Amberite. He learned many skills in his young age, hunting, swordsmanship, how to dress and treat wounds, track animals, and lead men. But the one thing he cared about the most was Trump.
He played with the cards before he went to sleep, he toyed with them when he woke up. He idly copied the artwork of each Trump, wondering who the original artist was. Dworkin perhaps, but his father never confirmed it. When his uncle Caine visited, he would ask about Trump, often a bit too much, at first causing his uncle to be standoffish from him.
After Naxx walked the Pattern, things about Trump started to click. While Trump’s power wasn’t based off of the pattern, a greater understand of the universe opened his mind. As he continually walked out into shadow, he tested the Trump of those who were safe, mainly his father and Caine. Soon he could figure out who was calling him before he answered, and a general awareness of Trumps energies flowed into him. The day he spied on Caine, he received some lumps for his curiosity, however his uncle either saw a potential in him, or decided teaching him more would be the best way to stop him from experimenting on the few Trumps he had.
Under Caine’s tutelage he learned how to create Trump cards. But this wasn’t enough for Naxx. While thankful of the help from his Uncle, he knew there were other things Trump could do. Trump gates, Trumps that lead to places rather than people. He moved out into shadow, seeking answers, for his uncle couldn’t spend all of his time training some young Amberite with chaos about.
After a hellride away from overwhelming chaos forces, Naxx found himself trapped within a deep, dank dungeon that smelled of bile. A sorceress named Linessia had stolen his possessions and now made sport of torturing him daily.
“I will break you,” she would say at dawn while revealing her varied instruments of torture.
She’d end each day with a kiss on his lips. Naxx fell into depsair. He hadn’t received a Trump, so his father and uncle either didn’t know there was a problem, he was in a fast time shadow, or Trump was blocked.
Naxx had no idea how much time passed, but it felt like years, and eventually under the poison and pain he did break, as all men, even Amberites, do. He sang songs to Linessia, told her of the pattern, and even of precious Trump. Broken and alone, Naxx started to look forward to those familiar words every morning.
One day Linessia didn’t come. Then another day. A week past, and thirst began to drive him mad. He cried for help, but no guards came. He pleaded for Linessia, begging her to return to him. He bashed his head against the walls, smashed his feet against the floors. His blood trailed on the floor of his cell. Using his toes, for the chains kept his hands from reaching the floor, he scrawled a likeness of Linessia, drawing on his knowledge of Trump. After it had dried, Naxx placed his foot on the Trump. It grew warm under his touch. Fevered and mad, he pushed on the connection.
“My broken one,” Linessia’s voice said as the blood on the floor came alive in her guise.
“My worship,” Naxx replied, and reached his hand out towards the sorceress. She took it and pulled her through into his cell. Linessia was dying, a large gaping wound in her chest. He struggled at his chains, wanting to hold her, to fix her, so enraptured with his captor had he become.
“I’m dying,” Linessia said, resting against the cell wall next to Naxx, “My sorceries were not enough to hold back chaos.”
Naxx had always thought Linessia to be with those of the abyss, “What can I do for you, my worship?”
“Nothing,” Linessia said, resting her head against his shoulder, “Nothing.” She exhaled a long, slow breath, one of her few remaining, “I have tried so many rituals to infuse me with the blood of Amber. I have labored for years, and yet when they came, I was nothing to them. Yet I managed to keep hold of you. You who are a lord of Amber. Does that make me strong, or you weak?”
Naxx had no idea how to answer. The sorceress reached up and touched his shackles, freeing him from bonds that held him.
“Farewell, broken one,” Linessia said, drawing in her final breath, “Would that I could hurt you…one last time.”
Naxx took hold of her hand and drew a line of blood across his cheek with her nail, “I love you my worship.”
There was no reply. Naxx stared at the lifeless corpse for hours. Then he stood up and walked to the bars of his cell. The other side was right there, so he drew a Trump of it on the ground, and Trumped through. He left the dungeon and felt the fresh air on his face, the coolness of a breeze, and the smell of the earth. The castle was empty, abandoned as chaos came for it. He found the things Linessia had taken from him all those years ago, and wandered into shadow.
Eventually the Trumps came. Julian, then Caine. He blocked his Trump, not wanting to talk with anyone or anything, and for years he wandered the shadow worlds, listless. Let them think him dead, what was anything without Linessia.
How does one come back from such an event? How can one’s mind, once broken, be made whole? The answer for Naxx lay in the smallest of things.
She was young, some kind of an elf or fairy, and she came across Naxx as he lay in a pool, staring at the stars above. She landed on his nose, and looked into his eyes.
“I know you, son of Amber,” the creature said, and giggled.
“I am no son of Amber,” Naxx replied, for he had not felt such for years.
“But you are,” the creature said, and tapped her foot on his nose, “And I need your help.”
“Find it elsewhere, fairy.”
“No,” the fairy replied.
Naxx brushed the fairy from his face and swam to the shore, moving through shadow. The fairy however followed after him. Naxx ignored its questions and pleas. Day after day the fairy elf asked for assistance, or questioned him on where he was going and where he had come from. Finally, as Naxx rested for a night upon a seven moon desert, he asked the fairy what help she wanted.
“My race has been enslaved by witches of chaos. We’re being forced to forge items of war. Magic swords, poisoned daggers, and worse. I want you to help me free them.”
“If I free them, will you leave me in peace?”
“Of course, son of Amber.”
Naxx relented to the fairy elf’s demands, and moved back through shadow to the world he’d found her in. As he journeyed, he told the fairy of Linessia. Of his torture and imprisonment. The fairy elf listened in silence, giving no words of comfort or opinion. Naxx continued to talk, recounting all of the days lost within the dungeon walls.
Once in the fairy elf’s homeshadow, she led Naxx to a large series of caverns built into a mammoth cliff. Deep within and below is where her race was made to work and slave away.
Naxx sat down and stared at the cliff from cover for days. He drew Trumps of the entrances, one after another, until he had them all.
“Come on,” Naxx said, and started a journey through shadow.
“Where are we going?” the fairy elf asked.
“On a quest to find some special water.”
Naxx wandered shadow with the fairy elf, over and over again, looking for pools, lakes, and oceans, where fairy’s that looked like her would play under the water. Finally, after a long, long time, they found a world where she could breathe under the water.
Naxx stood in the water and pulled out the first Trump of the entrance. He stared at the card, feeling it grow warm in his hand. The connection grew real. He set the Trump down in the water, remembering every detail from when it had been scribed. A surge of Trump energy ran through him, and he pushed into the card and outwards. A flurry of rainbows spread out and a Gate opened up, the water gushing through. Naxx did this over and over, until the water stopped rushing. Until the caverns were full. He took the fairy elf’s small hand, and walked through the Gate. The witches of chaos, if that’s what they were, had all drowned or fled.
The fairy elf and her kind were grateful of course, but it was not their words of thanks that Naxx wanted. It was to feel something other than despair and loss. When he had drawn the Trumps of the entrances, it sparked something long dead inside of his chest. Activating the cards, creating a Gate for the first time, turned the spark into a small ember. A memory of what he once was, a memory of his desire for the grandness and greatness of understanding Trump.
The fairy elves invited Naxx to stay and in gratitude for saving him, offered to teach him of their craft to forge. This flamed the ember into a fire, and Naxx began to learn new things for the first time in years.
It was slow at first, but eventually Naxx felt his old self passing away. A chrysalis was occuring, and every sword, shield, dagger, necklace, and bracelet he made brought him closer to emerging into a new person. The despair, depression, and wearyness drained away with every drop of sweat as he worked the forges of the fairy elves.
When Naxx forged his katana Singeance, he knew it was time to leave. He had been broken, he had been driven mad, but he was fixed. No, not just fixed, he had been made even better than before. Never again would he fall to madness. Never again would he succumb to the darkness of torture. Never again would he forget his love of creation and Trump.
Naxx left the fairy elf world of Frak, and struck out into shadow again. He made contact with his father and found he had greatly missed him and his uncle. His mother had passed away, but he lay flowers at her grave and made a statue of her likeness as a tombstone. His relationship with his father grew stronger, even if they at times came at odds in their opinions. He thanked Caine for his help in the past. And once more struck out into shadow.
Eventually, he came across Selfeen battling a Griksnarl. He saved her from a mortal wound, or so he thought, for he later found out the woman was in no real danger. She was strong, wise, and beautiful. And Naxx had never felt more drawn to another soul. He journeyed with her on her travels, and learned of the world of Marr and its state. He helped her do battle against its evils, and after twenty three years there was a lasting peace.
He married Selfeen and had a daughter named Julessia. She was as beautiful as her mother and as strong, perhaps stronger, than her father. This place truly felt like home.
The thirty nine years spent on Marr were the happiest times of his life, and he even got to spend much of it with his sister, Ginn, who was much more like Naxx’s father than he was. She was a good soul, and her love of animals was a sight to behold. He drew Trumps of her favorites, and never tired of her company. There was a kindness inside of Ginn that seemed to draw people too her, a rare trait for an Amberite.
As all good things do, the joy came to an end, as chaos approached Amber, even Naxx found parts of Marr were growing darker. Fights between the guilds grew more frequent, and while his wife ruled wisely and well, the signs of an inevitable downfall were apparent. He left into shadow, hunting for answers, but unfortunately none came. Alas, Naxx wouldn’t have to worry about Marr for much longer, for now he and his family were heading to Regnum, leaving Amber and all its shadows to its own fate…
My mother named me Naxximurutish, and my father never called me by my full name from what I can recall. It’s just as well, I rarely use it nowadays. I spend my time running around and hiding in shadow, wary of chaos and its ever reaching talons.
Unfortunately, the winged demon that sat before me had no intention of letting me pass. An average size for a demon, but the way smoke and traces of fire came from its eyes every time it exhaled gave me pause to try an outright fight.
“Well?” I said, resting my hand on the hilt of my sword. I haven’t named this one, though I forged it myself. I like to wait until it’s had a few tastes of battle first.
“Now I will slay you,” the demon said and struck in at me with a claw.
My sword slide from its sheath in one fluid motion, striking across in a defensive cut across my chest. The demon pulled its hand back and grunted angry fire.
“Not quite so easy,” I said, resting my blade at my side in what I hoped was a calm looking stance, though who knew if this spawn of chaos could even read human body language.
“If you could kill me, I would be dead now,” the demon rumbled, stomping one of its four legs on the ground, making the stone spark.
“And I would be dead now if you could kill me,” I said, “Let’s find another way to solve this. How about a game?”
“A game?” the demon said, head cocking to the side.
I knew it was intrigued. Some demons can’t help but play games, “Something along the line of riddles.” I began explaining a riddle game I learned as a child, but added in new rules as I went, trying to draw out the explanation.
I searched through my head for an image of my father, standing in his armor, forest Arden behind him, his pet falcon on his arm. Just the way I drew him on my Trump years ago. My vision blurred a bit as I cast out a Trump connection.
“So, since it’s daytime,” I wrapped up, “we can’t begin. We’ll have to wait until nightfall.”
“Ahhhg, nonsense!” The demon screamed and leapt into the air. I thought it would dive down towards me, but instead it turned, flying away and into shadow. I focused full on my Trump, knowing it might bring reinforcements.
“Hello?” my father answered with a quick, sharp tone.
“Father,” I said, glancing behind him. He was in Amber. “I was having a spat with a demon, hoped to bring you through. Didn’t work out, so I’ll be going.”
Suddenly, my father reached out and grabbed my arm. Without a word he yanked me through the Trump. I was back in Amber, a place I had been only once and in secret. I was at a loss for words, and a tad angry that dad hadn’t asked before yanking me through.
“You should have answered your Trump before,” he said, scolding me as if I weren’t over a hundred and fifty years old.
“Sometimes people are listening, and I was busy.”
“For three days?”
He was angry, I could tell there was more going on then I knew. I sheathed my sword, for it was still out, and exhaled slowly, “What’s wrong?”
“You’re going to Regnum. Get your daughter. And your sister.”
I took a step back, then looked out a window. Far in the distance towards the sea a dark cloud rumbled. Chaos couldn’t possibly have made it this far. “I’m not going to Regnum, I have places I can hide.”
Julian grabbed my shoulder and squeezed. I narrowed my eyes at him, then fear gripped my heart when I saw his gaze. The edges of his eyes were showing a hint of fear. I’d never seen my father show much emotion, and never had I seen him afraid. I decided to re-think my words before things got more physical.
“All right,” I said, sliding from his grip, which he thankfully eased, “But I’m bringing my wife, daughter, and any of Ginn’s friends she wants as well.”
“This isn’t a discussion. Trump your sister and daughter here, now.”
I frowned, there was no use arguing with him. I made a show of pulling out my Trumps, and moved off to a corner to consult them. I’d bring my sister and daughter of course, but if my father thought I would leave my wife behind, things would not go well…were the rumors that Rebma had sided with Chaos true? That would explain my father’s haste.
I found my daughter’s card. It depicted her slaying a dragon with a spear I’d crafted myself that was now called Dragondeath. I smiled when I looked at it, as I always did. She slayed her first dragon on her own at sixteen. I was overseeing the fight, of course. But I didn’t help. I needed to see if I could convince Benedict to train her.
Some shouting and a glance from my father made me remember my business. I focused on the Trump and felt it grow warm in my hands. She didn’t answer, but she wasn’t supposed to on the first call. I let the connection die, waited our set amount of time, and Trumped her again. We needed codes because she’d never wanted to learn Trump herself, so she had no idea who was calling. I probably spoiled her a bit too much by making them for her all the time.
The Trump connection grew stronger as she answered, and the picture of her on the Trump came to life as she spoke, “Dad?”
“Daughter,” I said, smiling, “How are you?”
“Oh, I’m still in the same shadow as you left me!”
That wasn’t what I asked, so I knew she was lying, “You are?”
“Yeah! Where else would I go?”
I strengthened the connection and the background of the Trump faded, being replaced by darkness. Clever girl.
“Why’s it so dark?”
“What? Oh! Ha ha ha. I was asleep.”
I was tempted to reach through the Trump and yank her through as my father had, but I tried to have a gentler hand then he, “I left you in Frax because it’s as safe as shadow can be these days.”
“Jullesia,” I said.
“Are you in my head, dad?”
“You know I don’t do that.”
“But you could, and I might not know it?”
Was she trying to distract me, or was she actually curious? “That’s true. Listen, I’m going to pull you through, you need to be in Amber with me and your grandfather.”
“Pffwha?! A-Amber? I’m never supposed to GO to Amber! YOU told me that!”
“Enough, come with me.” I extended my hand out for her to take.
“Fine, yeah, okay dad,” she said and took my hand. I pulled her through, watching the rainbow colors shimmer in the air. I loved that part of Trump.
She was dressed in armor I’d made for her, implying she’d been anywhere but Frax.
“So what’s the mystery?” she asked, looking around and waving to her grandfather. She had a curiosity about Amber I didn’t share, but father hadn’t got around to telling her all the stories about our relatives.
“We’re going on a trip to Regnum.”
“Wh-” she stammered, “I need Dragondeath!”
“You have a Trump of it.”
“And a different outfit! And..” she gasped, “Josh!”
“Who’s Josh?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“Er, no one,” she laughed, turning to look out a window to hide her face from me.
It was the worst, my daughter had a boyfriend. Well, one thing about this trip would be nice, we wouldn’t be hearing from Josh anytime soon…
Home Shadow: Arganon
Time: Faster Than Amber Time: AKA Whatever works best for the GM to have me be 167 years old.
Tech Level: Low
Setting: Medieval Medium Fantasy
Naxximurutish was raised by Julian and Mariuni his mother in Arganon, a shadow of a shadow of a shadow with similar parts of the forest Arden spread throughout. They are considered part of the royal family there. Naxx didn’t stay long in Arganon, and as soon as he had walked the Pattern in Amber, he left into shadow. He wandered shadow for years upon years, studying the arts of creation, particularly that of Trump. His uncle Caine, the one relative it was ‘safe’ to talk with, aided him in these studies now and then, but he preferred to experiment through trial and error.
After Ginn his sister was born, Naxx settled down in the shadow of Marr.
Time: Relative to Amber or whatever plotspeed is needed for background.
Tech Level: High
Setting: Medieval mixed with Scifi.
On Marr he earned the nickname Forge among his friends, for it seemed he was always making one thing or another. He eventually met his wife Selfeen. They had a daughter, Julessia, who has just about to turn seventeen.
He often visited his sister, and while his wandering through shadow slowed, he would still seek out ancient and beautiful sites, drawing pictures or Trumps of them. He cared greatly for his little sister, who had an affinity for animals like their father, and during visits would draw Trump of her favorite companions.