Where were you while your Dad was in captivity?
The Dairy Prince is left to his own devices, so he decides to count them.
"One: my nice, new, shiny, knife." He smiles and thinks, "this is indeed a nice knife that my father has given me. My father is both kind and generous, if somewhat absent at times."
"Two: my cards." He smiles again and thinks, "my father was quite nice to teach me how to make these cards, as they are a never-ending source of pleasure."
You may be wondering why the Dairy Prince should be left to his own devices, and in this you would not be alone. Know then that it is because his mother, the Dairy Queen, was killed by ruthless Buccaneers who came to Minnesota in search of booty. Some say that his mother was not a virtuous women at the end, but there are always bad people who will say bad things, aren't there?
(Yes, there are)
The Dairy Prince put his friend, Jaffar, the Grand Vizier, in charge of Minnesota. He did this despite the fact that Grand Viziers (in addition to being culturally inappropriate for Vikings) are always evil, scheming fellows. Some say that the Dairy Prince is not very bright, but there are others who say that he is very bright indeed, so one has to choose who to listen to and who not to listen to, now doesn't one?
So it is that the Dairy Prince finds himself left to his own devices. And this is why he counted them, coming up with the grand total of two. You might think that two is not many devices, but remember, the cards are really many devices and the knife is quite a nice knife and in any event the story is not about his devices but about what he was doing while his father (who you may remember is named Brand) was imprisoned by his own siblings.
The Dairy Prince had very many cards, but almost half of them were of his father. He tried them one by one, but none of them actually reached his father, which was odd because they normally worked so that their not working isn't to be considered normal.
So the Dairy Prince (who I have decided to refer to as Riley from now on) decided to walk towards his father. This was a difficult and also an arduous process, so the Riley found a big stick and strapped his knife to the end of it, which is just as well, for he ran afoul of a Chimera next.
The fight with the Chimera took quite a long time. Riley didn't know that the Chimera was a baby, and the Chimera didn't know that Riley was only 17 (17 may seem quite old to you now, but in fact it is quite young!) Still, it was a titanic conflict. In the end, the fight spilled over into three countries and a pack of wolves. It turns out that the three countries had long-standing feuds and were looking for an excuse to fight, but the wolves were peace-loving and Riley felt bad about drawing them into his conflict.
So Riley decided to help out the wolves. He lived with them for a few years and they taught him much (mostly about hunting, but also certain things which are not for your ears at all). Riley helped them out as well, and he made them a set of cards that included what most sets of cards include but also included a card of the wolves as the usurper. Riley hoped that that would help the wolves out and make them quite important. Riley was enjoying himself muchly when Big Chuck reminded him that he was looking for his father.
"I know I am looking for my father, but surely he is fine, for he is strong and wise and quite old," is what Riley said to Big Chuck.
But Big Chuck just cocked his head and looked at Riley, as if to say, "Great Cinder was strong and wise and also quite old, but eventually great cinder met up with something which was stronger and wiser and not quite as old, but quite old enough thank you very much and maybe you can help your father before he meets a similar end." This was hard to argue with, so Riley left the wolves.
Later on, after dealing with ruffians and saving a young lady who Riley at first thought was a virgin, Riley came upon a nice coastal town. He enjoyed staying there and liked listening to a certain drummer, but he knew that Big Chuck was right, so he continued onward.
It was a long and difficult journey, which does not make for engaging storytelling, but I just want to let you know that it was both long and difficult.
Riley then came upon a tower which was surrounded by floating rocks. Riley's first thought was much the same as yours, which is "wow."
But Riley knew he had to deal with the tower, for if he didn't, he would have gone around it. So Riley tried to get to it, but saw some strange men come out of the tower and look menacing. Riley decided not to try to fight the men and so he thought to himself, "I wish that someone would come along and distract them."
Now, let me break into the story now and say that Riley cannot just wish for things and then have them happen any more than you can, but this is what happened, and I have to tell it even if it gives you the wrong impression.
It was then that the drummer arrived. He didn't have his drums with him, which is why Riley almost didn't recognize him, but it was him for sure. He tried to get into the tower, but he failed and fled away. This would be sad except that the grey men chased him and Riley was able to sneak into the tower after fighting only one of them. And Riley was very lucky, since the one left behind was very sensitive to Riley's knife, which I think I mentioned is quite sharp and finely made.
Riley walked into the tower and came upon his father, who was chained up. At first it looked like he was chained upside down, but it turns out he wasn't.
"Hello father, I have walked very far to come see you and I have fought a Chimera and three countries and some ruffians. I have also saved a woman who I thought was a virgin but later learned was not. Also, my mother is dead and I am sad." This is approximately what Riley said.
Riley's father replied with, "I am also sad, for I loved your mother more than I thought I ever would, but her loss only serves to steel me to my purpose. I would like to join you on your adventures, but I am currently involved in a most dangerous adventure, one which I must see through to the end."
Riley understood. "I understand," he said. "Would you like me to unchain you and thus set you free?"
Brand smiled, "No, but thank you."
Riley didn't understand. "I don't understand," he said. "Don't you want to be free to go about your adventure."
Brand slipped his hand out of the manacles, scratched his nose, and slipped his hand back in. "I am as free as anyone is, who is not your grandfather. I do not have a serpent dripping venom on me, and unless I am wrong, and I am almost never wrong, by staying here I will be able to return to Amber without need of stealth or strength. So I think I will stay here."
Riley didn't understand. "I see," he said. "Did you know that a drummer has tried to save you?"
Brand chuckled, "that would be your half-uncle Random. He will go to another uncle of yours, probably Eric."
Riley said, "Oh, ok, do you want to play cards then?"
Brand looked sad now, "No, I'm sorry but you must leave now as my jailers will be returning soon."
Riley left then, and didn't see his father until much later.