A couple of days after the Victory Celebration Mercury disappears from Ebony without prior word or explanation. She is not seen again for the following 100 years. Trump communications are unresponsive. Charles Langly of Ross takes day-to-day control of Mercury’s fleets under her orders.
[Secret] Mercury sends a note to her Mother explaining that she is going to spend some time in shadow conducting research. She says that Charles Langly can get in touch with her in an emergency, and she will coordinate operation of the fleets through him.
Mercury sits motionless scant feet from the start of the Great Pattern of Ebony. She breathes slowly and deeply. With her mind clear, she slowly stands and walk forward. As soon as her foot approaches the beginning of the great swirling maze of fire, a spark flies up to her foot and the memories begin to pound against her defenses.
The images and feelings range from the mundane to the extraordinary, from the delightful to the horrific. The Admiral relives the horrors of the sea battle that wiped out Y’Nobe’s reserves and the quiet delight of walking barefoot through the pine needles in Birnham wood. But she pushes these images back and just keeps walking. Minutes or perhaps hours later, she is once again in the center of the Universe, the center of all reality.
Although it has been centuries since the last time she made this perilous and arduous journey, her feelings are identical. All she really wants is to take a bath. But unlike the first time she conquered the Pattern, this time she has done so to go some place very specific. A place that perhaps only exists in her mind. She concentrates on where she wants to go and in a blink of an eye she is there.
With only the clothes on her back and a standard pack of trumps, with a few of her own thrown in, the Princess arrives in the Shadow Tokuwa [See Below]. It is not a place where she will require things from Ebony. It is a place where she will endeavor to forget what she knows in order to learn what she does not.
Strangers do not often come to Tokuwa, but Mercury is quickly accepted by the locals on account of her phenomenal charm and her willingness to live as the locals live. The Ebonite possesses knowledge and skills that are unknown on Tokuwa. Her angelic singing voice reaches heights undreamed of and her stories of far away places entertain the young and old alike.
Her first mission is to clear her mind of the troubles that she came here to forget. To that end she embarks on a quest to climb Tokuwa’s seven mountains. Once this goal is accomplished she sets about to unlock the power of the Pattern.
When she is prepared, Mercury concentrates as she did before walking the Pattern. However, this time, she walks the memory of that Pattern as Rozel once suggested she do. Although it does not take as long as physically walking it, the mental exertion is similar.
Once she has reached the center of the mental pattern she commands the Pattern to do her bidding:
Mercury can "modify" her surroundings...maybe. Since she has to be on her feet and moving to do this, she can't be certain that she isn't just walking in shadow to a very similar seeming shadow with the changes she wanted. She *might* have changed a shadow, but she really has no way to be certain. She might be having some success with time...but there's no way for her to tell since she's stuck in the same timeline with everything else.
This doesn't seem to work unless she's moving, in which case she can usually find an object of desire. When she goes for something specific in Ebony, she finds herself traveling back to Ebony since she knows where it is and that's where her efforts take her. Her experiments with Teleportation all fail.
She does seem able to summon the Pattern as a lens or filter for her vision...but it doesn't seem to give her anything like clairvoyance. What it does do is give her an alternate view of surroundings, one attuned to the "realness" of things. She sees herself, for example, as brightly glowing, and the jewel in her sword is almost blindingly bright...but the rest of the shadow is sort of dim and hazy. Her Trumps also produce a sort of smoky glow that dissipates into a haze a few inches from the cards.
Her attempts to use Pattern to create pocket shadows and shadow things are totally unproductive...there doesn't seem anyway to use the pattern to change its own, existing influence over things.
Once she is comfortable with being able to do these things in Shadow [if she can], she attempts to do the same in Ebony. Every year (three years for her) she goes back to Ebony on the anniversary of her father’s death, and leaves black and green flowers on his grave and re-carves the griffin into her chest. She goes when there is no one around, often in the early pre-dawn hours.
For instance, if she can teleport herself within a shadow, can she teleport to another shadow, from shadow to Ebony, within Ebony, and from Ebony to shadow? If she can make a pocket shadow, how long does it last, can she bring it to Ebony (how long does it last if she can), and can she create it in Ebony (how long does it last)? I assume that she cannot change physical features of Ebony but can she modify items in Ebony, making a gun work or changing water into wine?
At the end of the turn, Mercury will still be in Tokuwa unless called back by Titania. She will attend Donovan’s wedding if invited, and Faiello’s funeral. But she will do her best to avoid people at both to the extent that is feasible.