Subject: [FFML] Re: [Amber] Dog of War
From: "Matthew Miller" <>
Date: 2/11/2007, 10:48 PM

On 2/11/07, David Johnston <> wrote:
Matthew Miller wrote:
Amber is the creation of Roger Zelazney. It is fantastic. Go read it.

This is the complete chapter 1. The segment that dropped the day
before was more of a teaser. I anticipate this being three parts.

Dog of War

I was sitting at a table playing cards when something crashed into my
conscious and yanked.

Obviously not the right word.  I'm not even fond of "consciousness".
How about "psyche"?

I'm going to play with that.

I fell backwards, dropping aces, out of my chair
and rolled once before the floor seemed to turn mushy under me and I
was falling. There were lights and colors, strange smells and the
sounds of piping. Something strange was pulling me, keeping my
attention down as I fell. The lights and feelings didn't change, and
there was nothing to compare myself to, but the sensation of movement.
A shape flashed past me, a woman, dark and hard eyed, and the yank

She abducted him when he was winning at cards?  Geez, he oughtta be
trying to kill her.  He needed that like a hole in the head.

Funny how that works, eh?

The horse's nostrils were foamed, and it reared at me. I had to get up
to leap backwards, and that's when the bullet hit the side of my head,
killing me instantly. It hurt.

The End


I woke up. My arms were bound, there was a burlap bag over my head,
and the air was thick and insufferably hot. Fortunately, my hands were
bound behind me and my clothing had been taken.

Oh, say that is luck.

Meh, take what you can get.

I started picking at
the small bump in my skin.

What small bump in his skin?

Soon it came loose and inside the mess was
knife blade, half the length of my finger. I cut myself free.

That small bump in his skin.

The guy was scared, and talking fast and sloppy. His eyes were getting
wider and wider, and I wanted him to calm down before started
screaming. With something to do, he turned and began throwing wood on
the fire without looking at me, working franticly.

I do not like that word.  No, I don't.  Frantically?  Frenetically?  At
a frenetic pace?

I'm implying both the speed at which he is working and his mental state.

breathed. Someone had been very thorough. I touched the side of my
head, and put my fingers part of my skull should have been. The hole
was still there.

There was a longish robe and boots in the corner of the room that I
put on. The only door was letting in flurries of snow, so no one
should be suspicious if I stayed bundled up. I peaked through the
crack, and saw a tall man with several attendants coming.

"Push him in, now." I ordered. "I'm going to be watching. You breath
one word of this, you mention me, if you imply I'm not in that fire in
any way, I will kill you and then find you in the next world and do

"Yes." He nodded franticly. The table holding the two coffins was on

Still don't like it.  Fearfully?

I kinda like frantic. Panicky, confused, spastic, all in one.

It had felt cold outside but not murderously cold. If it had been cold
enough to freeze blood that quickly, it must be truly frigid. Or my
blood had grown cold. I felt my skin. I didn't feel cold or warm.

So I must be dead.

You could be a reptile.

Even reptiles usually go down with gunshot wounds to the brain and
swords through the heart.

I had a fatal head wound, a fatal chest wound, and
Orpheus, who seemed a thorough individual, was content that I had
gone. I checked my pulse. Nothing. I stopped breathing, and waited.
After a while, nothing happened, and I felt fine. I was dead.

Well, according to Orpheus I had been summoned by a witch. I had no
reason to doubt his honesty, so that meant I was a bad guy.

Oi!  The Anti-Wiccan Defamation League will be on your case!

He's not appropriately PC. He's a bad guy.

"I work for no one. My lord is the King of Thanes."

I kind of liked "Thames" as a name for a not-England.

Not Thames, the river, thanes the leaders of a clan. King of Thanes is
a formal title, hence the caps, similar to high king.

Unless you're saying that just in general you like referring to
not-English kingdoms as Thames. In which case I agree.

The gun crack sounded like thunder in the enclosed space, and the
bullet came out at about three miles an hour. It moved stately and
deliberately across the room, and the guard negligently batted it
aside, still watching me.

I really can't figure out what that happened.  A spell cast by "Fiera"
on the castle?  Bullets obviously work under normal circumstances here.

Well, think about it. They carry both guns and swords. No reason for
swords if guns always work. Vice versa. Also, because the guard batted
the bullet aside negligently, he was obviously expecting that outcome.
More about this later.

The fire burned hotter and brighter. I lit the entire courtyard and
all around me guards and peasants watched my flailing. Orpheus, sword
still hanging from leather armor, stared also. The spectacle kept them
in shock and finally I fell backwards, tumbling down a dark hole and
splashing through the frozen surface of the well water. My burning
clothes remained on the surface as I sank.

Again, I didn't stay dead. Either that or death just didn't stop me.

That is one demon with an awesome capacity to take a licking.  Not all
that strong, though.

He's Amber level badass. Not high on the Amber scale of fighting, but
Amber levels of durable.

"Havok, is Orpheus dead?"

"No." It was an effort to speak.

He might be dying.  He did take a sword in the chest after all.

Unlikely. Orpheus to a sword to the chest armor. Our hero notices this
while burning to death.

Her expression changed, but it turned only more malicious and
skeptical. Defensively, I touched the hole in my skull. It was
missing. My head was clean shaven, but intact. I no longer had any
idea what was going on.

Since Trump contact is psychic, I doubt she'd be skeptical.

People keep noticing that. Would you be willing to accept that there
just might be something odd going on?


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