May 28, 2004

The Shadows Lie For You

A bit of a retcon:

You have a limited, Pattern based illusory ability to blend in. You don't actually shapeshift -- most of you -- but people perceive you as being local. Your ability to speak (nearly) any language may be part and parcel of this.

High Psyche people ("high" by ordinary standards -- Chaos or above) and people with virtually any Power at all are not taken in by the ability, at least not fully. It is a spooky enough effect -- not magical, not dispellable by any petty power -- that most of them keep quiet.

Those with higher Psyche and more Pattern have more control over how they are seen. Extra effort helps as well. For instance, if you're stark naked people are far more likely to see through the effect. With extra effort on a few people, you might be able to befuddle them long enough to acquire some clothes quietly. Being of the wrong race wearing the wrong clothes takes more coverup than just one anomaly -- shapeshifting helps.

You can withhold the effect at will.

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May 23, 2004

Amber Security Report

Amber Security Forces Report:
Duke Mykal
Investigation and Actions:
Assault on MERLIN, Duke of Amber, Prince of Argent.

I was instructed to investigate the matter by Prince Gerard. Meeting with Merlin, I got his story. We then went to the Skyguard Embassy to meet with Lord Andre, the other involved individual (I read the guard’s reports and decided I need not question them further). Once there, we met with Lord Andre, who pointed out that he was under surveillance by crows, which Prince Merlin determined were ensorcelled. We retired inside where I heard Lord Andre’s story of both attacks on his person, and I watched the crows watching me. When one flew off to report, we traced it to the Chaosian Embassy Compound, which seemed to irritate the Prince. Receiving a report of some Chaosians outside the compound, and determining to question them about what they knew of this. I made my way to the location they were at, an exclusive club near the Chaos Embassy, with Prince Merlin, and Lord Andre in tow. I entered the establishment and made my way to their private room, where I was recognized and greeted. They completely ignored Prince Merlin, which I found slightly offensive, but chose to overlook for the moment. Lord Andre they glanced at suspiciously when he entered. I then engaged the individuals in conversation, working on pumping some information out of them. During the conversation they managed to disparage the Populace of Amber, its Royalty, and its Castle all in the same breath. This seemed to be more than Prince Merlin could bear, he pulled a dart pistol and shot two of them. Lord Andre and I jumped in to subdue the Chaosians so no further property damage would ensue, and calmed Prince Merlin. We then ventured to question the individuals closely about what they knew of matters, and found that they knew of the activities against the Skyguard Embassy, and Lord Andre in particular. They accused Lord Andre of being a spy and worse, which I judged to be the false mouthing of those caught and desperately trying to shift the blame. They openly admitted to having hired people to assault Lord Andre, and I was questioning them further about this when Prince Merlin who was receiving a message from another source, which was also investigating these matters, interrupted me. Someone had tracked the attackers, who were making an escape to Kashfa on a merchant vessel, “first thing sailing” I believe the term is. I do not believe Kashfa was involved, and do not mean to imply such. We caught up with the miscreants, and I decided to make an example of the individuals so that word would spread, and I won’t have to do this again next year. Lord Andre, Prince Merlin, and I, with the help of an informant, proceeded to thrash the individuals energetically, though it didn’t really last long enough for me to break a sweat, mores the pity. A few had gotten killed in the melee of darkened cabins and flashing blades, but not nearly as many as I would have expected in such close quarters. Many were cut and slashed, even though none of us were using edged weapons, they had to have been attacking each other in the darkened rooms. I requested the captain to return to Port Amber, and trumped back with Lord Andre, Prince Merlin, and his informant. The word should spread nicely once the perpetrators are back on their feet, and no other attempts to hire persons to assault either Royals or anyone else for that matter will meet with much success I suspect. Prince Merlin’s informant has agreed to keep an eye on the individuals involved and notify the Prince or Myself if further intervention is necessary.

Attested and Affirmed:
Last Day of Winterfair, Year One of King Random's Reign
Duke Mykal

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Mykal's Journal Session 3

A notation in Mykal’s journal:

Drat! Interrupted in the middle of a good battle in Naipon to return to Amber, but Mom was insistent. Glad I came back though, it seems my Aunt Dierdre has returned from the dead. Pretty lively looking if you ask me. If she weren’t my Aunt… Heh, seems my time on Mom’s ShadowEarth has nearly destroyed my Naipon reserve in dealings with the fairer sex. That or Martin has ruined me, its been too long since we went and blew off some steam in the sailor brothels, have to give him a trump call soon.
Oh!, seems Gerard had something for me to do too.. figures this couldn’t be a holiday. Seems someone attacked our cousin Prince Merlin in the streets of Amber, this type of action shouldn’t go unpunished, even during festival. He wants me to investigate whats going on. Work, Work, Work, man’s a slave driver, even if he is my favorite Uncle.
Met up with Merlin and discussed the attack, also had in interesting discussion on Trumps, seems he is an Artist too. Awesome tip he gave me on lighting and shadows in the trump image. We decided to go locate the other subject involved in the attack, a Lord Andre, ambassador from skyrim province. Seems this Lord Andre might be the real focus of the attack, as this is the second involving him, and Merlin was investigating the attack on the Ambassador, when they were attacked.
We arrived at the Skyrim embassy, to find Andre outside with no guards (foolish), but in the company of an exquisite Rebman Lady, fellow has good taste. She departed nearly immediately, very nice departure by the way, we all paused to appreciate it. Merlin introduced us, and Andre pointed out what he and the Lady had been discussing, spy crows watching the compound. While Merlin did mystical tasting of a dead one, (disgusting that) I continued to observe, and noticed they also had spy rats watching. Recognized a observer from the Amber Security Force, keeping an eye on the embassy (and the rest of us on the front lawn). Very professional, didn’t show any sign of recognizing me.. Even though I know for a fact I’ve worked around him before. Retiring inside we discussed the first and second attacks on Andre over a very nice vintage. I kept observing from the window, and finally one left to go report to whomever. Merlin decided to play Spiderman and climbed to the rooftop and watched where it headed, seems the Chaosians are involved. That didn’t seem to set too well with our young Lord of Amber AND Chaos.

We decided to go find a Chaosian to ask questions of, those who weren’t already, went and armored up. Upon departing I allowed the nice guard lieutenant to follow us, then snatched him into an alley. Briefed him quickly on the spy crows and chaos information, and had him send word to the officer in charge of observing the Chaosian Embassy to watch out for the crows as they were being used as spys. He told me they had notice a large number of crows around the embassy, also told me where some Chaosians liked to hang out when they were outside that compound, since we seemed to be interested in questioning said individuals.
We made our way to the location, finding an extremely exclusive club, though they didn’t try to stop me, one younger doorman made as if to, before an older one drug him off to the side. Lucky for him, I’d have had to leave some tread marks on his chest as I walked through him. Stepping in I confronted several Chaosians in their demonic forms, eating and drinking at a table in the private room I’d just opened. Can you say Pin Drop? I thought you could. (the looks on their faces when they recognized me was nearly as priceless ad the look on Mom’s face when the Elders got back from Chaos and found me in Amber, Patterned, and 4 years older than I should be.) Smiling I stepped in and aside to reveal Merlin at my back, …unrewarding as they totally ignored him. Andre got some glances when he stepped inside, though. One of the three asked me what we wanted interrupting their repast. (dratted pondscum, I KNOW I’m not very good at the conversationally subtle arts) I attempted to reduce the tension by diversionary questions and discussions on Inanities (the stupid crows) and a discussion on such vermin and “cattle” and working on getting them drunk. Failing miserably, (dang shapeshifters just sweated it out without metabolizing the alcohol, I got a buzz though) and starting to get disgusted with the whole thing, I was preempted by Merlin who pulled a dart pistol and shot two of them. I guess he was tired of being ignored like furniture, and decided to make himself noticed. We then pummeled the still conscious ones and subdued them. Only moderate damage to the furniture, I left some of the Chaosian’s cash to cover the repair.
We decided to remove them somewhere private, where we could question them. After some internal debate, I volunteered my Safehold in shadow, and trumped us there. I hated using it, but then again having another TA know what it looks like so he can get there if I’m that bad off may be useful. Not like I cant replace it somewhere else. (Geezus this is getting long, but I have to do something to stay awake)
Merlin did some questioning, with me standing around and looking aggressive. We found out that the Chaosians thought that Andre was a spy or something and had taken it personally. They were behind the attacks and Merlin was only an innocent bystander. Andre denied being a spy of course, but what ambassador isn’t spying at some level for his rulers back home? After a short discussion, which turned somehow to genealogy of the families, since I don’t know my father, and it seems Andre is an orphan. Our cousin Jade trumped Merlin (an attractive young lady too, very athletic), she had found the 20 individuals who had jumped Andre and Merlin in the street and had tailed them to a ship heading for Kashfa. They were under weigh and she wanted us to come through and assist in pummeling the miscreants. Andre quickly voted in the affirmative and we tossed the Chaosians through and followed. Seems there were 30, in 3 cabins. Jade, Andre, and I each took a cabin and proceeded to administer a beating. Jade was a bit fast off the mark, so my room was warned. They shut off the light, as if that would slow me much, Wakizashi sheath to the head time! Fun, but didn’t last NEARLY long enough for some good exercise. The rooms were quickly reduced to quivering bruise-ridden lumps of humanity, and Jade lectured them on their sins. I went up and had the captain turn back to Amber port, then came back down and we cousins all trumped back to Amber with our Chaosian luggage. Passing though the city we dumped our luggage at the Chaosian Embassy as a message, then continued on to a nearby bar where Merlin bought. (Pretty good Clam Chowder there too)
Near dawn we all separated to our own amusements for the rest of the morning. I dropped by the castle where Mom accosted me, (figures she’d have duty today) and asked for a report on what was going on with a merchant vessel that arrived in the harbor earlier that morning/night with 5 dead and 25 injured men. Had to tap-dance a bit, but brazened it out by using my instructions from Gerard to find out who attacked Merlin.
Told Mom that it was an Exemplary beating, I was sending a message to all Amber that attacking Royals on the streets, even during Festival, wasn’t a good idea. (She just shook her head, Mom’s) She instructed me to write a report for the logs, then grinned and handed me the binocs, Great, I get to spend the last day of the Festival, as duty officer of the watch, after a full day without sleep. Sent a runner down to the docks with a voucher for repairs on the ship, the harbormaster will make sure to send me the accounting.Bah! Guess I’ll write that report now.
Gotta stay awake, boring early morning watch.

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Andre's Journal Session 3

The Journals of Andre

A Letter to His Highness, King Maximilian of Skyguard

Greetings Your Most Gracious Majesty,

Through the diligent efforts my new contacts in Amber, it was discovered that the attempt to kidnap me was directed by the Chaosian embassy in Amber. Strong measures have been taken to discourage future attempts by said contacts and I have reason to believe the vile Chaosians will take the lesson to heart. On the plus side, the end result of this unwanted attention is I have made friends within the royal court and that can only enhance the standing of Skyguard within Amber.

The festival has otherwise gone well and I anticipate a slow but steady increase in our commerce with Amber. When trade has reached the point where my humble staff is no longer able to keep up, I anticipate requesting additional personnel to assist.

Your Loyal Subject,

Lord Andre

A Notation in Andre’s Journal

After my exit from Castle Amber, I undertook to relieve some stress and slipped away for a tryst with a local lady. We spent an enjoyable afternoon, but soon I found myself worrying again about enemy surveillance. I returned to the compound and tried to identify any watchers. I soon learned that the Amber security people were watching the compound and that someone else was using enspelled crows to keep watch.

I slipped away again to call upon Lady Ap-Morgwyn to get her opinion on the crows. It took a while, but I was able to locate her and draw her attention to the avian spies. She thought the job was badly done and whoever had sent the crows wanted them to be noticed. As we discussed this, Merlin and another of the royals, Duke Mykal, approached and I made introductions. The lady soon excused herself and I made Merlin aware of the surveillance. I invited them inside for a drink and we discussed the situation. Soon, one of the crows flew off to report to its’ master and Merlin became excited. He climbed up on the roof, leaped to a neighboring building and climbed as high as he could. My neighbors became greatly alarmed with someone thumping around on their roof. I shall have to send them a fruit basket by way of apology in the morning.

Merlin determined that the crows had flown in the direction of the Chaosian embassy, further cementing his bias towards himself being the target. It aroused his suspicion and he began to ponder if I was working for the Chaosians. A most unfortunate turn of thought and one that boded ill for keeping my secret. Sharp-eyed Mykal also spied that not only were crows being used, but a few rodents of unusual intensity were watching the compound as well. A short discussion ensued and we decided to seize one of the Chaosians for questioning.

We located two of them dining in a club I intend to avoid in the future. The three of us bulled our way in and confronted them in a private chamber. Mykal did most of the talking at first, but Merlin eventually lost his patience and tranquilized both in short order. We slapped them around a bit to render them pliable, then trumped to a safehold belonging to Mykal with our captives in tow. We were none too gentle with them.

Sadly for me, one of them admitted I had been the subject of interest. This annoyed Merlin and greatly aroused his suspicion when it was further revealed the Chaosians thought I was an unauthorized Chaosian spy working for another house. He tested me with magic that revealed my shapeshifting ability. The jig was up, so I secured as best I could a promise from both to keep my secret and revealed my Pattern ability as well. I answered questions as best I could. I could tell they would feel better if I announced my presence to Random, but I hesitate to do that in case my intended mission was counter to the King’s wishes. In time I will likely be forced to swear fealty, but I would maintain free action as long as I can.

As we were finishing up, Merlin received a trump call from Jade. She had independently found out the Chaosians were involved and Merlin advised I bring her in on the secret. I had no choice, and it was better to come clean and secure her promise in keeping my secret as well. We joined her via trump on a ship headed to Kashfa. On board were the thugs who had attacked Merlin and myself. We decided to impart a lesson, so Mykal took ten, Jade took ten and I took ten. Thrashings were administered, a few died, but in the end we allowed them to return to Amber with the caveat that they work for Jade now. She seems to have underworld contacts, and I shall cultivate a friendship with her to make use of those contacts from time to time. In return, I have no doubt she will find uses for me as well. So be it.

We returned to Amber. Myckal and Merlin undertook to limit the official damage of our actions. It was agreed that I would be introduced as one of Mykal’s retainers should I need to gain access to official libraries. He seems to be interested in geneology himself, so perhaps we can assist each other in digging up clues about my mission and parentage and his father’s identity. I undertook a warm soaking to ease my bruises and think on my next moves.

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May 16, 2004

Titles in Rebma

from the top:

Queen. There is some contraversy over whether Melisandre is Queen or Heir. She's under the age of adulthood (27) in Rebma and there's never been an underage Queen before. Normally, the old queen hands the power over to her successor in an elaborate ceremony. This is the first time the old queen died before she could do that.

Princess Heir, see above.

Princess or Prince, offspring of the current Queen. Moire simply kept referring to her sister Llewella as a Princess and everybody with sense went along with it. Now she ranks as a duchess.

Duchess or Duc

Marquise or Marquis (markeez, markee)

Countess or Count

Viscountess or Viscount

Baroness or Baron

Military Ranks,

Warlord, commander of all the armed forces; Moire was her own Warlord for most of her reign. Llewella is pushing for the naming of a Warlord (not herself), various other factions resist the idea.

Battle Master, field command equivalent to chief admiral or general. Once one has been Battle Master for a (successful) campaign the courtesy title is yours forever.

Commander, equal to a junior admiral or a colonel


Knights: the Queen, Princesses, Warlords and Battle Masters may knight soldiers for extraordinary service. Commanders can recommend people. Unlike Amber, Rebma also has knighthoods for non-military service to the Queen or the People. Only really extraordinary service will do; the honor has not been cheapened.

The Temple,

Archdivine Teleri ap-Olwen

Divines of the First through Seventh Circles

Acolytes, Glow trainees who may or may not become divines

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Titles in Amber

Amber, from the top:
King Random

Queen Vialle; she has more authority than any queen since Clarissa

(Crown Prince or Princess -- the designated heir, none at present)

Prince or Princess, other children of Oberon or Random who have sworn fealty

Duke or Duchess of Kolvir, children of Princes who have sworn fealty (Merlin, Tyler, Thera)

Lord or Lady, potential princes or dukes who have not sworn fealty (Delwin & Sand, if they're still alive, Martin, Jade, Melisandre); Martin's position is special as he is the King's acknowleged son, expected to swear fealty eventually and on good terms with both the King and Queen. Merlin is Crown Prince of faraway Argent. Melisandre is almost the head of state of Amber's nearest and most important neighbor -- and bastard daughter of Prince Corwin/King Corwin of faraway Argent. (Illegitimacy is not a legal concept in matriarchal Rebma.)

non-royals: Titles are attached to land. Although most great families derive their fortunes from trade, pride led them to purchase titles from impoverished country nobles. Occasionally a new title will be created by the King as a reward for some great service -- never for direct sale. Actual prestige is more a function of real wealth and power than title, but formal precedence attatches to titles. A noble's control over his fief is limited, and he or she dispenses justice in the King's name according to the King's laws, not their own.

Marquis or Marchioness, holds multiple counties
Count or Countess, holds a county or multiple baronies
Baron or Baroness, holds a barony
Lord or Lady, noble without land

Military rank,
A royal's military rank has no effect on his or her social standing, theoretically. In practice and vis a vis the non-royals, the Prince Marshall (Benedict) ranks everybody but the King and Queen, the admirals rank their siblings, and active Colonel Thera is half a step above inactive Commander Tyler (and both of them get more respect from having been, effectively, a general and an admiral during the Regency) and both would rank a new cousin who lacked a military command.

A General or Admiral ranks just below a Count, a Colonel or Commander just below a Baron, a Captain just below a Lord. All known generals and admirals, and most commanders and colonels, have been knights.

Knighthoods: Sir or (rarely) Dame, an honor granted strictly for outstanding military service to the Crown, nominated by a royal or another knight. A knight is considered to be noble.

Knights rank half a level higher than they would otherwise, starting just above a (nonroyal) Lord. That is, Baron Sir Somebody outranks Baron Whosit and Sir Ex-Commoner (a knight is no longer a commoner) is equal to Sir Lord.

Royal policy is to reward military service above wealth. Wealth rewards itself.

non-noble titles,
Magnate, meaning rich, powerful and formally acknowleged as such by their peers. There is a Council of Magnates with a couple hundred members, too large a group to get much of anything done. Occasionally the council would refuse to recognize a new, resented family that obviously qualified. Oberon would have the heads of such families (if cooperative with and useful to the Crown) invited to attend a royal function and announced as Magnates. That settled it.

Various things like Guildmaster, Doctor, Professor, etc.

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May 15, 2004

Libraries in Amber

There is the King's Library, a massive complex that serves as the royal archives, a scholarly library, a sort of Shadow Geography repository, etc. It isn't free or open to the general public. Scholars are vetted for respectablity and their patrons usually pay their fees, which are reasonable. Materials stay on the premises -- unless you're a royal. Stealing books is stealing from the King, so theft is not a big problem. Earth elementals and sylphs patrol the stacks for any sort of rot or undue moisture. Others help guard the place. Really valuable books might have their own protective elementals bound into them. The King's Library also prints books on a small scale for the royal services.

*Soliciting ideas for the Head Librarian and staff, some of whom are conjurors.*

Other libraries include the Castle Library, available only to family and some staffers and guests, those of the various magnate Families, those of some temples and a trio of subscription lending libraries with a mix of technical (how-to) and popular books.

Complete illiteracy is rare in Amber and mostly limited to foreigners.

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May 13, 2004

Andre's Journal Session Two

A Note in Andre’s Journal

I have been making progress on my list, though not in the fashion I would have preferred. The initial steps were easy enough. Gaston recommended a brother-sister team as bodyquards, apparently half – weir living in the city. I paid them a visit and opted to give them a try. It may cause me some difficulty in recruiting full weir, but frankly that might be a good thing. Their names are Vindalf and Swanhild.

I set up two alternative residences, complete with a false identity with no difficulty. I even managed a brief fling with a festival attendee to help establish the identity. Time well spent.

I next made a deal with Gandolfini and Fitzhugh for enchanted armor for my guards and myself. It cost me a few days in shadow to gather some silly avians, but on the plus side I established some credit with other rare items I picked up along the way. I got in some time to practice the lizard-man form of my attackers as well. I think I have it down now.

A brief correspondence with Lady Ap-Morgwyn has led me to understand hiring a wizard will be difficult, expensive and possibly of limited use. I will need to work a while longer on that goal.

The festival was proving quite enjoyable, right up until I was attacked again. Luckily I had recently accomplished my goal of cultivating a relationship with a member of the royal family. Bribing a few barkeeps had allowed me to arrange an encounter with four of the younger ones early in the evening. I steered the conversation towards my prior attack and succeeded in interesting Merlin and possibly Jade. Merlin graciously agreed to come to the embassy and emplace a protective elemental in the walls. I showed him what evidence I could find of the prior attack and he more or less confirmed Lady Ap-Morgwyn’s analysis.

We were moderately inebriated by the time we were getting back to the tavern. Before we reached it, a large number of assailants made their attempt. I was hit a number of times with tranquilizer darts, (as was everyone else), but Merlin managed to get us back to the bar via trump before we could be seized. Martin, Jade and Melissandra all were alarmed by the attack. Martin reported into Gerard and before I knew it I was being passed through to the castle.

On the plus side, no one seems to have looked too closely at my pedigree or has any notion that I am related in some way. Jade was kind enough to provide a trump for my use in future escapes (for which I am grateful) and mentioned that she would look into capturing an attacker or two. Merlin will likely continue checking into things as well. Having a pair of allies makes me feel much better about things.

I slipped out of the castle in the morning and have made my way home. Time to consider my next steps.

Continue working to establish a good relationship with the royals.

Set up an ambush to capture at least one attacker for interrogation.

Get access to royal libraries (if they exist) to try and research my intended mission.

Find out if my attackers are tied to a recent unexplained attack in Arden.

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Session Two Log

This Thing of Darkness Session Two

JADE begins the session recovering from the previous night’s party on a tropical island in shadow. She has been ignoring repeated trump calls until her head feels up to the pain of accepting one. At last she accepts a trump from her mother Llewella and is informed of the unexpected arrival of Dierdre in Amber. Jade gets cleaned up and comes to Amber to meet her aunt. She eventually tracks down Dierdre in the stables where she is choosing a horse for the day’s ride. Llewella and Jade spend quality time with Dierdre out riding and grill her on her whereabouts and survival. Dierdre describes being saved by the unicorn and what the Abyss is like. Llewella and Dierdre then begin some slight upmanship with Pattern tricks while Jade sits by to watch. She learns Dierdre has much better endurance than Llewella, but Llewella is better with Pattern. The discussions eventually turn to Rebman politics and Dierdre offers her help in “cleaning house” should Llewella need assistance. Llewella declines help for the moment, deciding subtlety is still desirable. The talk of politics bores Jade, so she asks if there is anything in particular she can help with. Llewella gives her a mission to secretly copy the personal diary of the Secretary to the Holy Divine (High Priestess) in Rebma. Jade is happy to head off and get into some trouble.

ANDRE immediately seeks reinforcements for his bodyguard Gaston. Gaston suggests two young half-weir of his aquaintance as potential candidates. Andre takes Gaston out to find the brother-sister team in the scummier parts of town and eventually finds the male, Vindalf. They undertake a job interview and Andre decides to hire Vindalf and his sister Swanhild as additional guards. They pack up and return with Andre to his abode. Andre then goes to negotiate with an armorer to make four sets of fine enchanted chainmail shirts. The price turns out to be four rare birds found in shadow. Andre agrees, sets Gaston to begin training the new guards and heads off to capture the birds for payment. The task is completed within four days and payment made. By now, the festival is in full swing, so Andre spends time at the exhibition and bribing various bartenders to alert him when a royal family member is out partying. No luck the first day.

JADE begins casing the House of Seven in Rebma to learn what she can about the secretary. She uses a supposed desire to learn about the Glow power as cover to go inside and meet the secretary. The fellow is so uptight, Jade begins picking at him and finally (forcefully) invites him to attend lunch at a nearby restaurant with her. In the process, Jade visits the Glow chamber and witnesses the sorting and binding of elementals in the company of Sister Gwenlliang. They dish about the secretary for a while, then Jade leaves to get geared up for her mission. General Ap-Morgwyn provides Jade with access to a wide variety of high quality burglary gadgets for her mission. She watches the Secretary’s quarters for some time, then finally breaks in to copy the diary successfully. She learns the Arch Divine is trying to make Melissandra dependent upon the church in her decision making. No surprise there. She trumps Llewella and gives her the copy. Now it’s time to party again and Jade heads to Amber to go drinking with Martin, Melissandra (in disguise) and Merlin.

ANDRE learns that a few royals (see above) are drinking in a nearby establishment. He gathers his bodyguards and approaches the royals, joining them at their table. Andre turns the conversation towards his recent troubles and captures the interest of Merlin. Although a bit tipsy, Merlin joins Andre in placing a guardian elemental into the embassy and learns more about the recent attack. Merlin seems sure the body double was created with an elemental. They decide to return to the bar after the task is done but are attacked by twenty net wielding assailants before they can get there. Merlin manages to trump everyone out but a number of darts have hit their marks. All five are poisoned with a knock out drug. They have trumped straight to Martin in the bar and suddenly there is much interest from the other royals. Gerard is trumped and the affected people are hustled off to the castle for debriefing.

JADE immediately jumps on the opportunity to go hunting for the people who dared to attack a family member. She tries to convince Martin to go hunting, but he begs off to go wenching. Melissandra returns home, so Jade looks up Dierdre and tries to get her to impersonate Merlin or Andre to draw out the attackers. Dierdre decides it is a foolish plan and begs off as well. In the end, there is no progress in capturing any of the attackers but Jade has a new mission in life.

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May 09, 2004

Notes on Rebma

Rebma is matriarchal. This doesn't mean that the men are wimps. The model is more like the Gypsies, a matriarchal culture with men who act muy macho.

Female-only power resides in the Glow, the power that makes it possible for normal people to live deep under water. All Glow initiates are descendants of the Seven Sisters, magical beings who wed, mated with or came to an accomodation with Lir back in the dim and misty days of yore. Lir was associated with Dworkin in some unclear fashion; there are conflicting versions of the story. Lir and his seven daughters founded Rebma. He was the first and only King. The blue and green Rebmans are all descendants of the Seven. Males with the proper bloodlines have attempted to acquire the Glow but all died -- according to the Temple.

The Temple is a quasi-religious organization dedicated to the Glow, to maintaining the Rebman environment, to Rebman tradition and independence. High ranking members are called Divines, their elected leader the Archdivine, lesser members Sisters. Teleri ap-Olwen is the current Archdivine. Most Sisters and Divines are primarily Glow adepts and Conjurors -- effectively power and environmental engineers -- concerned with binding, shaping, empowering (with a bit of the Glow) and maintaining water elementals.

The Rebman military is about 80% male, the officers about 70%. Most females in the military are not troops, they are mages or support personnel. Rebma's most prominent Warmaster (general/admiral) and war hero is Pelydryn ap-Morgwyn, a woman, but her three closest peers are all male. Llewella would rank among them (not at the top) but her position was unique. She was the Queen's right hand, Rebma's only Pattern initiate and Trump Artist -- and a Princess in the court of a -- The -- foreign power.

Rebma is always dark save for artificial light, but they have that in abundance. Schedules are adjustable. The court, in particular, had to adapt to whatever Queen Moire happened to be in the mood to do. Rebma never sleeps, though Rebmans do.

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May 01, 2004

TToD Amber City Lighting

The streetlights use an alchemical fluid/salamander combination of Rebman manufacture that stores light and releases it in darkness and also generates light on it's own from ambient magic. They are not nearly as bright as modern streetlights and are quite expensive. The sealed crystal bubbles containing the fluid are tough but breakable. The penalties for breaking them start with severe beating (the Watchmen like the lights) and banishment or temporary enslavement. (The charge isn't 'breaking a streetlight', it's 'destroying the King's property'.)

Personal lights are usually torches or conventional lanterns. Linkboys prefer torches because nobody bothers to steal them and they're easier to run with. There are also handheld alchemical lights available for quite a lot of money but these are seldom used except by well-armed parties. It's like lighting your way with a couple of doubloons. Conjurors can use salamanders as lights, mostly ones bound into objects for that purpose. Free ranging salamanders tend to loose their bindings in Amber and the authorities take a hard line on arson, accidental or not.

Posted by randy at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack