In honor of game-time munchies.
(The best kept secret in town.)
Melanie is short, round, blonde, and hazel-eyed. She is an excellent cook and serves meals three times a day; her kitchen has no menu: customer's pay the same for any breakfast or lunch meal, and a bit more for dinner. There is only seating for about 40 people at the long tables in the front room of her house and the place is usually jammed. Mealtimes are 6:30am to 8:30am for breakfast, 11:00am to 2:00pm for lunch, and 5:00pm to 8:00pm for supper. Melanie is assisted by her two daughters, both of whom are plump, blonde, and thoroughly married; the girls do the majority of the customer service.
The customers are on the honor system, expected to drop the cost of the meal into a small box by the front door; if you can't afford to pay now, pay later. (Freeloaders are generally noticed after the first few times and usually ejected by the regular clientele.)
Here's another one, via John's request:
The Street of Silk Veils
The Street of Silk Veils is the pleasure area in the city. Here can be found many beautiful women with whom one may pass a few hours in dalliance for a reasonable sum. There are two distinct pricing alternatives for those seeking adventure on the Street of Silk Veils (so-called because of the custom that someone seeking to earn a little extra income in an easy and pleasant manner usually dons silk veils to advertise that fact): houses tend to be run by women, usually a high rank courtesan herself. For those with but a few silvers to spend, there are a plentitude of independents and happy amateurs.
Enos the Maul - a granite block in human guise who wields a 9-pound maul as if it were a flyswatter. He is usually up at dawn working in his livery stable/blacksmithy. A forthright, upright, righteous man, he will aid anyone who is in trouble (physical, not financial) on the Street.
Shops, Taverns, and Residences
Probably the oldest of the major establishments having supplied the Street of Silk Veils with a luscious portion of its reputation for over 300 years, there is a rumor that the madame who currently runs it is the same woman who originally founded it,
Avrodel's Wine Shop
Carries many wines and even some brandies. The shop opens around noon.
The Black Whip
An establishment (not one of the six Majors) about which little need be said.
The Blue Lantern
One of the six Major houses of the Street.
The Fox and Goose
(A pleasant sojourning spot)
Karki's Sweets and Flowers
Karki lives in a house across the plaza; his shop is open from noon to 6pm and prices are reasonable.
Mordecai is short, round, balding, and has a sense of humor that considers slapping a sunburned man heartily on the back the height of hilarity. When he asks, "Now tell me if this hurts?", it generally will. He is extremely competent, and can usually save the worst sword wound (provided the patient is still alive when Mordecai gets to work on him). In the garden behind his house, he grows many herbs and plants that are used in various medicines. He is usually available day or night, although waking him out of a sound sleep causes him to double his fees.
The Mustard and Fennel
A very seedy bar. Har.
The Perfume Garden
Almost as old as Ambrosia; it is renowned even in foreign lands for both the beauty of its walled garden and the beauties within.
The Red Rooster
Another of the six major establishments.
Here's a minor trading family with tons of use for someone like Fineas. I can say with some assurance that my character will not have any use of them.
The Blackbourne family first made its fortune through the importation of fine fabrics; they have now expanded their sights, and are involved in all aspects of the clothing trade (weaving, dying, and even retail sales of finished garments). The Blackbournes own several fine clothing shops, and three large sailing vessels. The rapid growth of the Blackbourne business interests is due to foresight of its current patriarch, Hamlin, an incredibly vigorous man of sixty who has built up an extensive trade network that brings him the latest fashion concepts from abroad, and has the good sense to commission the best clothiers in the city to produce these innovative new designs. His election as master of the Guild of the Loom was virtually unanimous, and this Guild is not characterized by the petty internal politics that dominate the activities of some of the other professional Brotherhoods. Lately, the family has seen personal hardship: Hamlin was recently widowed, and the oldest of his three sons, Anson, is recently deceased.
A small, bald-headed man, Hamlin is an austere, stern man who rarely laughs or smiles. Despite the key role he plays in setting the trends of fashion 'in Caercala, Hamlin wears rather worn, out-of-date outfits himself, and often looks as if he has just slept in his clothing. He is a workaholic, who can often be seen burning the midnight oil in the study of his estate, poring over the scrawled notes taken by one of his traders on his last expedition. He hates formal occasions, and does not drink alcohol; he does smoke a pipe incessantly (using only the finest blends of tobacco), despite his respiratory problems. It is easy to respect Hamlin for his boundless energy and his business genius, yet he is difficult to like, for he is very opinionated and expects things to be done his way.
Anson -- deceased
The oldest son, Anson, was a slender man with prematurely thinning golden hair and a pale complexion -- not physically strong. He had not only demonstrated an ability to manage the Blackbourne business effectively, but had proven much more adroit than his father at making use of the family's considerable political clout. Anson, regardless of the time of day, was always willing to widen his circle of influential acquaintances, he is very friendly to strangers if they were well-dressed and mannered, and polite to almost everyone; and generally conveyed an image of amiability that people responded to warmly. He also usually sat in for his father at the meetings of the Council of Boroughs, and it was he who kept the officials of the Ministries of Trade and Ports content through payoffs and gifts. Anson was always dressed in the latest Blackbourne fashion styles, and had a frame that showed the garments to good advantage. Anson had one severe weakness, a fondness for cheap trollops, he frequently spent his afternoons or early evenings at one of the many houses of prostitution that line the Street of Silk Veils (or the seedier flats along the South End). Rumors abound that the 'boating accident' that killed Anson was in fact an incident involving one of the girls from 'the Street', a family boat, and far too much cheap wine.
Anson's widow, a young woman with straight reddish-brown hair and quiet eyes. She is normally a very shy woman who blushes easily when made the center of attention; if she has been drinking enough to be tipsy however (not a very difficult feat given her low tolerance for alcohol and the current state of the Blackbourne household), she becomes a totally different person, full of laughter and willing to try almost anything, no matter how brazen. When inebriated, she is very susceptible to the suggestions of others and will believe most of what she hears while in this state. She loved Anson deeply, and knew nothing of his extramarital sexual interests.
The second son, Marcus, is in his third year of apprenticeship as a cloth trader; there is only a 20% chance that he will be in Amber at any given time. Marcus is learning the ropes under the tutelage of the Blackbournes' oldest and wisest hand, Jock McPherson; it is likely that the two men will be together if encountered in the city. Marcus is a fairly tall, slender young man with sandy brown hair; he repeatedly tries to grow a moustache, but can only grow a light "peach fuzz" on his upper lip. When he and Jock hit the city after an expedition, their pockets are usually full; Marcus for his part seems compelled to spend this money in the shortest time possible.
Places Encountered: In any rowdy bar or establishment providing light entertainment (song, belly dancing, gambling events like a cockfight).
A pudgy blond lad with very delicate features and an acerbic tongue, Gladiolus (he refuses to answer to his given name of "Geoffrey") has exhibited rather atypical sexual preferences and is known disparagingly around town as the "Fruit of the Loom". Gladiolus is his father's shame, and the two rarely speak (when they do, it is usually at the top of their lungs). Hamlin tried for a time to bring Gladiolus into the business as a clerk, but he was so insulting to customers that the idea was quickly abandoned. He now receives a small stipend from his father, and has no other income; consequently, he can often be found in local taverns trying to find someone who will buy him a drink. Gladiolus spends most of his days hanging around Studio Lane, for he has several friends among the artist community, and has dabbled in various forms of artistic endeavors at times (with no particular demonstration of talent).
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
The woman who had so recently come so close to killing several of us had slipped away via Pattern. My cousins and I discussed someone chasing her down while she was in a weakened state and removing her from the equation. I thought about how good she was, how she was all too willing to kill us and her apparent abundance of pride and arrogance. I did not want her tracking me down to take me as a trophy while I was engaged with the Hendrakes. The bitch had to go. We decided Jacob was the best qualified to catch her and he agreed to do it. I took him aside and advised him to make sure she does not come back alive. He looked at me a moment and agreed. At that moment I did not realize just how seriously he considered that request. Jacob gathered some things to prepare and headed off into shadow after the Gryphon.
The palace was a bit of a mess. I began searching various rooms for bits of intelligence before it was lost to a Gryphon counterattack. I do not believe we have the resources here to hold for long. Here we are vulnerable, being unable to maneuver or support forces sufficient to repel an attack. The enemy has the advantage of choosing the time of attack, has superior numbers locally, has both Pattern and Logrus at their disposal and is more familiar with the setting. The way I see it, we will lose this place within a week unless we abandon other fronts to defend it. This war is not about property (the Pattern excepted of course). It is about people. They have more and we need to change that. We should concentrate on capturing or killing the major players of each House until they are unable to continue. Sooner or later they will decide Swayville is the easier target.
In my wanderings through the towers surrounding the palace I came across a group of Remans holding a number of very lovely women for questioning. I was very impressed by the discipline they were showing. I need to find out where Jacob found them and recruit more soon. Soon I was joined by Rinaldo. He wanted to know the details of the situation and I filled him in as best I could. He listened, mentioned that Thirteen was upset about the clusterfuck and would likely want to know details as well. Rinaldo left shortly thereafter and I returned to ransacking another room when I heard Thirteen's voice behind me. He was offering to let the Remans enjoy the women but they steadfastly refused, citing the fear of angering Jacob. I chuckled to myself and returned to join in the conversation. I asked on the condition of Tanitheel and was informed her condition was grave. None of the rest of us were seriously hurt. Thirteen was obviously still agitated and told the Remans they could send a prisoner through a trump to Amber. He asked the women who was Dante's favorite. They pointed to one girl and she made a comment that it was her for this week at least. I spoke up and suggested they all be sent to safety in Amber. I would be happy to go first, arrange their safe passage to Sir John's care and return. Thirteen agreed and it was done.
We had learned the male Gryphon was named Dante, the woman we were chasing was Komorra and there were at least 5 other Pattern wielding Gryphons. The sick toys I had discovered belonged to Dante and apparently mostly were used on him by these lovely women. I was beginning to get insights into the characters of our foes. I invited Thirteen to assist me in searching the private chambers of the Gryphons and he agreed. We spent considerable time in each of the rooms. I discovered small caches of poisons in each room (which I kept). Komorra's room was sparse but showed she was engrossed in challenges, mostly against other creatures. She appeared to be the consummate huntress, a trophy collector. I began to fervently hope Jacob succeeded. Such a person is to be feared when they decide you are the next worthy challenge. I also found a few books regarding Amber, though written in an ancient dialect of Thari. This excited my curiousity, so I asked the Remans if they had encountered a library in their search of the palace. They had.
Thirteen and I went to the tower they said it was located in. We found it. A treasure trove of ancient tomes the likes of which Oberon had apparently banned or secured during his reign. We found a huge room with over one hundred thousand books on a variety of topics, all reeking with the aura of great age. Many I could not read, others were difficult but decipherable. I found a book of poetry, purportedly penned by Oberon himself. It had to have been in his youth. I pocketed it for later perusal. Being something of a closet Oberonist, I thought it would be a fascinating look into a hidden aspect of his character. It would be a hopeless task to identify all these books without some idea of their organization. I looked for some pattern to their placement and finally realized it was done by author. Not particularly helpful, since the vast majority of the names meant nothing to me. Thirteen drew my attention to a central podium on which rested four small crystal globes. He said one was active so we experimented with it. He determined that it was some sort of artificial intelligence, a catalog of sorts. We began asking questions of it.
"Who built this Library?who did it belong to?"
"It was built long ago by Queen Morganna".
"Who was Queen Morganna"
"The queen was daughter of Dworkin Barimen, sister of Oberon and Lir"
"What the fuck?"
"I do not understand the question. Please rephrase."
Thirteen and I just looked at each other then began asking questions on geneology of House Barimen. Most of the names were completely unfamiliar. This was information lost to Amber for a very long time, assuming of course it was not some kind of elaborate hoax. Thirteen and I began to feverishly copy down the geneology and had made good progress when we began to feel some major magical disturbances. Thirteen did not seem greatly alarmed at this. I made a quick check outside of the tower and saw nothing immediately threatening. We decided one of the cousins was working on something so we returned to our task. We were almost half finished with the family tree when Totianna burst into the room and demanded to know who Rinaldo was. I politely informed her that he was my brother and had come to help. She began to go into a tirade about how he was as uncouth as I and had no apparent loyalty to Amber or herself. I had enough of her bullshit and responded in an even voice that perhaps she would do better by treating others with the repect they deserve rather than berating them. She seemed surprised that I had the gall to criticize her. She switched topics and demanded to know why I was not leading the troops or doing something useful. She obviously had her panties in a bunch so I politely mentioned we had found some very interesting data. She went into another tantrum so to shut her up I went to reposition the Remans to hold the library area as the main redoubt with a secondary defense of the Broken Pattern.
After finishing this task I returned to the library and asked Thirteen if he thought we could move the whole operation to Amber. He considered for a bit, then confessed that he was unsure but thought we probably could. Rinaldo is good at the magic stuff, so I trumped him in and asked for help. His eyes bugged out when he saw the room and eagerly began to help us. He also informed me that he found evidence that the Gryphons had successfully sent a warning to the moon. Crap. I trumped Liam and asked for some logistical help. We would need to move all the books to an adequate building in Amber. It would have to be far enough from the ocean to inhibit mildew but readily accessible to the castle. Liam went to work and the Feldanes were consulted for access to scholars able to read ancient Thari. Gerard was informed of our find and made the necessary arrangements.
Rinaldo looked at me during these conversations and quietly pointed out that mother would not be pleased we did not bring her in to examine the library before it is moved. He was right, but we did not have the time for her to pick through the place at her leisure. I expected an attack to come within a few days at most. Manpower was turning out to be a problem. It was solved by recruiting the surviving palace brownies. They seemed pleased to work for a master who would not be eating them. Turns out the beastmen had some abominable culinary habits and were not above an occasional brownie barbeque. With their help rapid progress was made in trumping the crates of books to Amber during the next three days.
In the meantime Jacob returned, reporting success in killing Komorra. I was very pleased until I found out the circumstances. He informed me that he had needed to call upon the help of Morwyn to catch Komorra. Morwyn had brought in Flora, Komorra's mother. In order to carry out my wishes, Jacob had been forced to keep the women at gunpoint until he shot an unconscious Komorra to death right in front of them. I was inwardly shocked that Jacob would be that politically inept. His blood must have been up to threaten Flora and Morwyn in such a fashion and I worried about the repercussions for Jacob. I felt a surge of conflicting emotions. On one hand I admired him for having the guts to do what had to be done regardless of the cost to himself. On the other, I felt both shame and pride that he took my wishes to be paramount over Morwyn and Flora's. I began to wonder if I had helped create a monster, but the fact Jacob now recognized his error and was remorseful about how he handled it eased my fears. He had not become a psychopathic killer, just a desperate man in need of a break. I felt honor bound to do as much as possible to try and rehabilitate his ruined reputation. I also offered him sanctuary if it turned out he needed to lie low for a while. I had no idea how severe the consequences would be for him and he deserves all the help I can give him.
Before long Diego arrived and grandly announced his intentions to hold the castle against the Gryphons. By now, the first probings of Gryphon scouts were occurring. Flyers were seen probing the periphery and it became apparent the assault would be airborne when it came. Not having the jewel of judgement available for use meant we would not have air superiority. I stationed the Remans indoors in such a way that they would fight to their strengths rather than the enemy's. Toriana had already abandoned the castle, though initially we had decided she would be the best suited to run it. Her irresponsibility was likely to cost Diego his first Amberite command. If he was annoyed at losing a handful of guards I wondered how he would take losing hundreds in a crushing defeat, which I fully expected if he persisted in defense of the castle. I would assist him to a point of course, at least until he sees reason and abandons this folly. I wanted to be at hand to salvage as many of the Remans as possible. They deserve better. Jacob seemed resolved to their use in the defense of the castle and offered to throw them a party the likes of which they had never seen after the coming battle. I fear few will be alive to take him up on it unless I make some preparations for their evacuation.
I was pondering this when Diego brought up the twin subjects of Morwyn (his sister) and Jacob's disciplining of the mutineers. Diego requested that Jacob send a formal letter of apology to Morwyn for his conduct, to which Jacob readily agreed. Diego then began to verbally work Jacob over for impaling his mutineers and more or less demanded a policy be put in place outlining the ethical recruitment and disciplining of Amber troops. I spoke up at this, defending Jacob's actions as completely required in the circumstances and explaining the stupidity of trying to enforce a cookie cutter policy on the wide array of troops we will be forced to utilize to survive. It went right over his head I could tell. I noticed a cooling of his demeanor towards me immediately. Fine. I can deal with him on his terms until a hard decision needs to be made at which time he had better get the hell out of my way. I will allow nothing to interfere in the defense of the realm. To me, Amber is more important than quaint notions of ethics (which I find Diego's to be rather selective in their application anyway) or even the lives of my cousins and myself. A strange emotion for me and one I would never have felt a year ago. I began to understand what motivated Oberon and Corwyn to be willing to sacrifice themselves to repair the Pattern my father had damaged. I am changing in ways I do not fully appreciate yet.
(I call shotgun, I want first turn next time...)
"I am here to cleanse myself by bathing in the blood of our enemies, not to emulate the tactics by which they so lavishly deserve to die."
after 300 years, I have my first gray hairs, and it only took amber two weeks.
It seems like every few days here I have a previously harmless word echoing around my mind cutting the compacity for coherant thought like a teaming school of malignant razor blades in a maelstrom. given a few years, the intrigue, treachery, skullduggery, and insanity of this place will render the entire dictionary abhorrent to me.
last week the word was "advisor", in relation to my medical treatment of a family member, this time agony,and despair teamed up for a two for one sale, providing me with the words "effective". and "failure".
"effective" is a mortifying quote from my cousin Fineas. It refers to the fact that he feels my cousin jacob impaling thousands of his own troops on stakes, then putting their souls in jars is an "effective" tactic, and without legal sanction, no less! I keep hearing it echo.. effective .. effective .. effective. This situation is obviously horrifying beyond words, to have the kin I had hoped to trust most have blackened their souls with such utter moral turpitude. Now the man who risked going to war with a vastly stronger nation over the liberation of slave ships is now faced with a vastly more "effective" method of enslavement. I believe we will come to victory in this battle upon the shoulders of infinite free men understanding the cost of failure, and the exuberant joy of our righteousness. it will not come from the ritualized mechanized harvesting of hopes, and dreams, crammed by the thousands into glass jars.
the mistake behind the word "failure", is one I hope never to repeat. made all the worse because I coined it in reference to myself. in chasing a chaosite bitch (and the spawn of flora, no less! a.k.a. zero chance for redemption ), Jacob brought Morwyn in to help when things got complicated. I had been hoping for a chance to prove myself to my sister, and I failed. the most troubling aspect is I don't entirely know why i Iet her down. I was exhausted, completely agape at the situation, and held her would be assailant as a friend. maybe it was just too many abstract variables to calculate, like my Babage machine, when I load it with too many cards, so it can keep up with me. I just pray my confounded hesitation didn't cost me the affections, and or respect of my only living sibling.
So I have had more then enough palor injected into my life, by one cousin for this century. Then I keep thinking that it is no accident he is named after my son. He needs my guidence desparately. My instincts tell me his nature remains good. It is perhaps to patronizing, and an unjustified image I have of his life as a baby, but I can't shake picturing him growing up in an old diaper, left alone with a large branch while he fights off snakes. I suspect some vile cancerous imp is whispering ideas in his ear. he was not provided a background in moral principles, but nor should he be receiving his education in the blackest of morality either. I will discuss his development with Gerard. Perhaps if I start him off on the immortal wisdom of Thomas Paine, Erasmus, or maybe Voltaire...hmmmm. Maybe I could find him a fine church goin' woman..hmmmmmm
fineas, and the coronation are too much to think about right now.
yours ever lovingly, and still alive from perdition-
The day before had gone well. I had spent some time working with my Jelorum
Merc's and drilled them in some more modern military practices. They took
to this like ducks to water. Later that night, after Sabine had done her best
to wear me out, I started to have a slight headache. It got worse, and worse,
and then I noticed that it wasn't a headache, but a really weak but urgent
trump call. Against better judgement, I responded.
It was Badger, and he looked to be in a spot of trouble. He was naked and
sitting on a very large tree branch. I could hear snarling in the background.
He apologized and said that he needed my help. He was in the area that the
Helgram's had occupied and things were not looking too good for him right now.
I wasn't to happy to hear that the Helgram's had a "zone" of control.
He said that he would give me a few minutes get dressed and gather a few
items. He trumped me back when I was better prepared and pulled me
through. He told me that the snarling came from the werewolves that were
at the base of the tree he was in. Looking down, I could see that they were
the size of the Taxi's back home. He went on to describe the area of shadow
that the Helgram's controlled and the only thought that came to mind was
Omicron....Anyway, The shadow in question comprised of everybodies worst
hellmouth/gothic nightmares. Vampires, Zombies, Were-creature's up the
bum. Not a place to bring your mum for a nice day at the beach.
The next question was where were his clothes. He told me that he had to shed
them to befuddle the were-creatures that were chasing him, and that he had
lost a few of his trumps, but had kept mine. He'd planned for contingencies
though, and had burned the lost sketches with a prepared spell.
He told me that he new of a safer shadow, and that it was closer to the
Helgram's power base in this zone. So, using his descriptions, and pattern
shifting we found ourselves near a medieval hovel. I went out and borrowed
some appropriate clothing (having learned in Jelorum) for Badger and myself.
He took me to a shack that he had taken over (the locals were convinced that
a weird old hermit now lived there, and were willing to leave it alone). I had
Badger guard me while I worked on opening my senses to the Shadow. I could
sense a center of Necro energy about 10 miles to the south (badger confirmed
that that was were the Vampire Count lived). There were two areas of magic
nearby; one was Fire based and the other Air. The rest of the areas were
ruled by other Vampires. Badger confirmed these findings and told me that
the neighboring mages were of a low caliber and even I could take them on.
I also noticed that there were no lay lines to speak of in this shadow.
During my pattern searches I was able to find a cave that was suitable for a
trump location (secluded and out of the way). I trumped Princess Flora and
found her en flagrante...this did not seem to bother her to much (I guess that
Flora really did have a thing for that lizard guy). I told her that I had found
a good place for one of the trumps, and I was going to check out the garrison
town to find another. She told me that she would be ready in about 5 hours
time (Jelorum) and if I would be needing anything to let her know now. I
thought for a second and told her some good troops would be a good idea and
anything else I could procure on my own. Badger chimed in that he had lost
most of his trumps, and humbly asked her if she would see fit in finding
replacements. She giggled as she signed off.
I Trumped SJG and got the items I would be needing and started the walk to
the town. On the way one began to notice that all of the peasants were under
nourished, almost bled dry. We got a room in an inn and I trumped Sabine who
brought Jurgen and Gertruda with her. Sabine joked about "what kind of hell
hole I had brought them to this time". She blanched when Badger and me told
her. She had thought that Shandora was the worst place in the Universe...she
After a while Flora trumped me and told me that she was ready, and to find
a place to bring her troops through to. We left the inn and went to a place
that the locals called a fairy circle and brought her and her troops through.
she had about 50 short little well tanned men that she called Gurkas with her.
they seem more then willing to fight anything. They didn't even flinch when
they heard what they would be up against. Onward to the castle!
The town peasants fled to their hovels as we made our way to the castle. It
was just before midday, the perfect time to go vampire hunting. From what
I was able to discern from my probing, there were maybe a dozen of them in
the castle. Using ropes and ladders we were able to easily over power the
small castle garrison and we made our way to the crypt. We were greeted by
the head vampire and his minions, he was babbling on about how they were
going to drink our blood, and so on, and so on. The fight started and they
where no match for a Princeling, a Princess of Amber, a major wizard, a minor
wizard, Two weir and now about a dozen Gurka's. We had killed all of them
except a small girl vampire and the leader when I gave him the chance to yield.
He continued to blather on about how he was going to destroy us, but the girl
became submissive and I struck the Elder vampire. He was starting to cast a
spell when I ran him through with a sharp pointy stick. He did not turn to dust
as one would have expected from the mythic stories.
The Girl introduced herself as Kirsten and told me that she was hungry (as she
was eyeing one of Flora's Gurka's) and in need of blood. I tossed her the
Dying husk of the Elder for her to feed on. I've seen dogs be less greedy
with stew bones then she was with the Elders body.
After she had finished her "feeding" she told us that she had gained
knowledge from the elder and was willing to share. Badger, Sabine and I came
up with a bond spell so she could pledge herself to myself and Amber's Cause.
She was willing to do this and take on our Cause.
Flora said that this place was really starting to creep her out and she was
going to return to Jelorum. She said that she was going to leave the Gurka's
here until I was able to come up with a more suitable force to guard the
Castle. She also agreed that the castle would make a nice place for the second
trump in point for this shadow and set about finding a good spot to paint.
When Flora had completed her trump, and we had secured the Castle and
surrounding town, she told us that she was leaving and that she would provide
training on the Jelorum's that I had recruited and get together with Azvan's
crew to see what could be done there.
So Toriana's a Virgin?
Well we all think that she is....
Hmm. Well the first one that pops the seal is going to hear "FFFIIISSSHHHEEERRR!"
After having taken care of my obligations to Holrune, Derkon, Jurgen and
Gurtruda. I talked to Sabine about what she might want for her services to
Amber's cause. She told me that she had found my pattern tricks frightfully
useful. I told her that #2 had been quite adamant about the fact that only
Family members could walk it, but that a shadowite could attune to a Broken
I trumped Sir John Gaunt and asked him about broken pattern. He told me
that he personally found it very useful, but one needed to be ready, otherwise
it would be just as fatal as the real pattern. He informed me that he would
pass on to #2 that I was requesting that Sabine be tested for her ability to
take Broken Pattern. I thanked him and signed off. The news filled her with
both joy and dread.
I also offered Broken Pattern to Holrune and Derkon. They looked like they
really wanted to say yes, but they had a hint of fear in there eye that
betrayed their decision.
When everything was in order and ready to go, Derkon reported that Jacob's
bloody Persian troops were revolting (yes, they stink on ice). We talked about
the logistics of the situation and I came to the decision that they were
Jacob's problem and gave Derkon one of my Trump sketches of Jacob and
started to walk to Jelorum.
When we got to Jelorum, I received a trump call from Lady Kelamon. She handed me
a trump of our Contact Azvan.
After some tricky bits with the natives I was able to procure the appropriate
clothing and a translator device. I set about finding some suitable places for
making some trumps, and gathering a small but effective military force. Azvan
and his people (Tananda and Chumley) showed up. He was happy to see me and
informed me that these are his people, and if I wanted troops to let him do
We went to meet with one of the local tribes that were willing to help. A huge
lizardman stepped out of the crowd and Azvan attacked him. I was about to
help him when I noticed that both Tananda and Chumley were staying put.
Well we'll see how this turns out I guess. It would seem that this is how
Azvan's people greet each other after long absences. All went well, but their
are some negotiations that are going to need to take place. Azvan told me he
would take care of it.
Back in town I trumped Flora and told her that I have reached my destination
in Jelorum. She seemed to be having a picnic with our cousin HRH Morwyn of
Rebma and tells me that she will be ready shortly and to be ready to receive
her trump. After about an hour I get her Trump call and pull her though. She
is a quick study and gets her "picture" of the areas in question. She then asks
me if I would be willing to spar with her. This was a very odd proposition
coming from her, and Sabine shot her a look. "No, no, no....I mean fight. It's
been a long time since I've fought anybody of our abilities". I agreed, I mean
she couldn't be any better then SJG. Boy was I wrong. She was a bit better
then me, but with the aid of Jurgen we gave as well as we got. The fight
seemed to also be of interest to Azvan's people, who were quite impressed.
They agreed to my terms and would need a few days to get things in order.
Flora decided to stick around (one of Azvan's people interested her), and I got
the money needed to secure the deal.
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
The strange moon hanging overhead was actually quite lovely, shedding its glow over the dunes of this world. In my mind I could hear the whispering of desert spirits and air elementals in the night as my cousin Jacob debriefed one of the friendlier ones in the cave we had occupied. I am not sure what my samurai thought of all this. They remained silent and watchful, bows ever ready. If this were not the land occupied by my enemy, I would happily spend some time in this place exploring. The duty to defend Amber came first and I shook such sentimentality from my mind as Jacob emerged from the cave to take a break. We shared a moment of silence before he filled me in on what he had learned. Toriana was still inside, concentrating on the power of this place to try and feel our enemy's activities.
The spirits spoke of a woman, one of the enemy, who emerged from the city periodically and wreaked slaughter on the natives who refused to submit to Gryphon rule. She was reputed to be extraordinarily lucky. I shared a meaningful glance with my cousins when this was announced. It had to be one of Flora's brats. With Pattern. Damn. I had harbored hopes that they had been unable to gain access to a Pattern. At least we had some forewarning and the hope that her level of control was limited from the lack of a teacher. Unless of course Flora was less than upfront about the amount of quality time she had shared with her brood. The woman must have a brother, possibly nearby and potentially a number of others if the breeding program were advanced. She may even already be a mother herself. Dworkin's dangling dong, that made things more complicated!
We decided not to try and target the huntress. She was reputed to be extremely wary and I prefer to hit people where they think they are safe, not where they are on alert. That meant getting into the city. As dawn arose we discussed this. Toriana broke from her concentrating and directed our attention to a glimmer in the sky a short while later. It appeared to be a spindly vessel of some sort, sparkling in the morning sun. It appeared to be following a ley line that spiraled from the approximate area of the city towards the moon hanging in the sky. It started moving quickly and accelerated to impressive speed as it shrunk into the distance. A shuttle perhaps? More stuff to ponder as we made our plans.
I was of the firm opinion that our mission must not change. We needed a prisoner as soon as possible and I felt the best place to obtain one was the city. I wanted to send Zariel into the city to a place suitable for trumping and bypass all the guards and wards around the city entirely. My view prevailed since the only other idea floated was a recon of the moon directly.
I was suddenly interrupted in our discussion by a trump call. It was Diego wanting to discuss his upcoming gala. I had not heard he was planning one until now, but I thought it would be very well timed. I was becoming somewhat grim recently and a party would make a nice diversion after our job was done here. Diego mentioned he wished to make the appropriate impression upon the nobles and rest of the court. Always a good idea so I encouraged him to do so. I offered whatever assistance I could and he reciprocated by offering a supply base at reasonable prices. Good enough, though I intend to spread the largess around to Feldane and Miramon as well. Before he bid me adieu, I thought it wise to let him know what we had found and asked for his assistance in scouting the city. Diego happily agreed, seeming to relish the chance to pit himself against the enemy. I explained that a small force would be preferable and he set off to make preparations. I thought about contacting Thirteen, but decided against it. We needed someone competent elsewhere in case things went rank here. I decided to leave him as a reserve along with my brother who was no doubt enjoying the rustic charms of Gerard's brutal headlocks in a training session. Being slightly less physical than myself, I suspect he will enjoy the experience even less than I.
Zariel went off to perform the initial infiltration. We were far enough away that it would take him half an hour or so at the minimum to reach the place. A handy creature to be sure. Jacob was obviously fond of him so I silently wished him safe journey and said a silent little prayer to the unicorn. Toriana was obviously excited to go. I began to suspect she was becoming something of an adrenaline junkie. She certainly seemed to loosen up a bit away from the confines of Amber and I was glad of her company. Strange I know. Jacob was relatively calm except for a while when it was getting close to the time to trump Zariel. He then began to absently spin the cylinder on one of his pistols while staring off into the distance. Diego soon trumped in with about 50 troops of two basic varieties. About half looked like somewhat devolved Hells Angels, all hairy and brutish looking. The others were proud looking fellows, apparently fierce warriors from his shadows.
We trumped Zariel and found he had located a suitable tower for us to trump into. I took five of my men with me, as did Diego. The tower was slender, graceful and quite high. It was also deserted except for us. I positioned my men near the top but out of sight and the rest of us descended to the lower floors. Diego began the process of shapeshifting himself and one of his men into the semblance of beast men. It was a rather nauseating thing to watch but instructive nevertheless. He then slipped out to scout, keeping a light contact with Tori via trump while he rambled around. Tori verbally described the tactical situation as things progressed. Apparently Diego was fooling around with her a bit because a couple of times her face scrunched up in obvious disgust. She never commented out loud when that occurred.
Zariel continued to scout and found a sewer entrance. Jacob ordered him to scout it out to see if it went near the palace we could see in the distance. It did, but Zariel reported the passage to be guarded by a water spirit. If Diego was unable to find another way in that would have to do. I suggested that Tori hang a "de-sliming" spell to use on us if we were forced to go through the sewers. It would not do to announce our presence by sense of smell when we emerged into the palace.
Apparently Diego had a close call and reported that the front gate was alarmed or warded against unauthorized intrusion. He was coming back, so we proceeded into the sewer. Before long we encountered the undine and sought to unbind him. Tori muffled the signature while Jacob splashed the critter with a cup of his own blood. It worked, and Jacob set about negotiating a new binding to himself. The undine was pretty intelligent and it took a while to strike the bargain. We passed beyond, encountering limited magical protections and soon found ourselves deep in the basement of the palace. A couple of times we had to send Zariel ahead then trump to him, but we were approaching the living areas of the Gryphons at last. We came to what appeared to be a much stronger ward. We had two options we could try. The first option was to grab a servant and remove any key to pass the wards it might have. The second was to draw a sketch of the hall just past the ward and trump our way in. I favored the second method since we had avoided detection thus far.
It was the wrong choice. We trumped in and found a side hall to hide in while Zariel scouted ahead. I soon became aware of attention directed our way. The enemy was quietly gathering force to attempt to seize us. I doubted they knew our numbers yet, so I advised Tori and Jacob to get the hell out, using a trump to get away openly. With luck, the chaosians would presume we had all left. I intended to stay and try to grab one once things had settled down a bit. I proceeded up the main hall a bit and stepped into what appeared to be a storage room for various entertainment aids. I was surrounded by torture devices, bondage toys, whips, you name it. My estimation of the enemy dropped a bit. Call me a prude, but reliance on such methods for enjoyment seems to me to be a weakness. Pain is not my pleasure.
I did not see what Jacob and Tori did, but the ruckus they caused was considerable. Apparently just trumping out was not good enough. There had to be property damage involved and I could hear a number of enemy guards try to engage. This went on for a couple of minutes then quieted down a bit. I emerged from behind a crate of Dworkin knows what perversions and listened at the door. I could hear nothing at first, but a few minutes later I heard a pair of voices nearby speaking in Thari. A male voice was defending his decision to get away while the female countered that she had things under control. They were speculating on our numbers, which was a good thing. The less they knew the better, though from their conversation I wondered if more had been brought in than I was aware of.
Very shortly I became aware that a strong trump gate was beginning to form in the hall. That could mean only one thing. Full assault was coming and I feared the Gryphons would simply flee and we would get no prisoners. Making a snap judgement, I emerged from the room, drew my envenomed dagger and made a hit and run attack on the male whom I suspected of being the less alert of the two. My throw was accurate and I hit him solidly. I bounced back off the wall to my original position in time to avoid the retaliatory bow shot from the bitch. She was fast, but not fast enough. About then I heard the first Remans come through the gate. I caught a glimpse of a cousin or two as well and shouted orders to the first ranks of Remans. We charged around the corner to find a magic barrier in place and through it I could see the two Gryphons limping away out of sight.
The Remans chopped their way through the barrier and we encountered some enemy guards. We dispatched them and continued our chase. I could feel Logrus being used, though apparently not to leave the shadow. They had transported themselves to a nearby tower and I suspected they were sabotaging the ley line vessels before trying to get away. I saw Tanitheel in bird form approach the tower with Thirteen on her back, but the Gryphon bitch shot her down with a well placed shot. Thirteen managed to latch on to the tower and drag her inside. About then, the bitch noticed I was looking and tried a shot on me. She had elevation on me but I dodged the shot. I began to suspect I was better than she at missile combat, but I was lacking a bow at present. I found myself wishing for my sniper rifle when I thought "why not"? I trumped Rinaldo and asked if I could have him bring me a rifle with Amber ammo. Gerard was there and handed me a large pistol to try first.
I had no idea if the powder would work, but it seemed logical to me. I whipped around the window and took aim. She saw me and managed to duck most of the way before I shot, but I saw a satisfying tuft of scalp and hair separate from the rest of her before she hunkered down. I started laughing with gusto, gleeful that I had a firearm that worked. A couple minutes later Rinaldo came through a trump and handed me my Barrett with a couple of clips of ammo. He had a sporting rifle of his own and we went Gryphon hunting. I moved to a different area and kept the tower covered while Rinaldo hit it with a spell to flush them.
They were hunkered down on that tower, but shortly a ley line ship started to take off. It looked of flimsy construction so I unloaded on it. I aimed for where I suspected the controls and seating would be and was rewarded with it faltering and crashing back down onto the tower. I knew Thirteen was in there so I just kept the tower covered. Soon, a flurry of elementals formed and tried to lift the two chaosians away. I aimed on the center of each mass and opened up on them again. I seemed to have some success, but I switched to trying to unravel their control with my Pattern and had more luck. I lost sight of both as they dropped behind the tower.
Soon it was over. Unfortunately Thirteen reported the female managed to use Pattern to escape. We captured the male, though he was severely messed up. Diego undertook to keep him alive and we rounded up the surviving enemy for questioning.
I was not pleased to learn there were now six Gryphons who had taken Pattern. We had met one. The others were elsewhere. This changed the priorities of things in my book. We stationed the Remans to occupy this place and there was some discussion of attacking the moon. In my view, our top priority must be to suborn, kill or capture those six. They can do more damage than all the Hendrakes put together. I wanted to get my campaign going in Aquitaine, but I know what my next task will be.
Rinaldo got one hand moderately frostbitten (and trashed a wand) doing the spell on the tower; that wasn't quite the spell he was trying for either. He'd tuned his spells for Amber, not for there. He asks Toriana for some first aid, very politely and charmingly.
The aetherliner is sufficiently intact to study.
Only 20% of the hundred-odd palace brownies were killed by the Remans.
Lacking officers and orders, the beastmen fight to the end where they are. A few of the bedouin types managed to get away into the city.
Dantay is in really bad shape.
There are light aircraft, both fixed-wing planes and uninflated blimps, in the palace.
Gerard will have Kelamon make wall-panel Trumps. One to a place of your chosing in the palace there and one to a suitable supply place, to start. Also sketches and real Trumps to follow with the usual time lag.
Cry Havoc- Session 14
Diego learns his coveted position as court physician of Rebma will not be a reality. Queen Moire releases him from any further service in the treatment of Llewella and though she is polite, she makes it clear that she wants someone else to perform that function. Diego is disappointed of course but decides to console himself in the preparations for his gala celebrating his ascendence into the royal family. He sends out a number of fancy invitations, but makes the effort to personally invite some of the more important guests such as Tanitheel. He gives her the name of his security person (Jack Snively) and asks her to contact him if there are any questions about security arrangements. Then, rather clumsily Diego produces a syringe and offers to inject Tanitheel with some of his shapeshift juice. She declines of course and the awkward moment passes. Diego leaves to speak with Sir John about stationing some of his "clickers" in the dock areas. He also decides to bring a wagon full of his personal brand rum to gift the guards. That seems to go over well, though his Clickers are limited to a few. Personal forces seem to be frowned upon in Amber itself. Continuing his preparations, he trumps Fineas to discuss the affair. Fineas takes the opportunity to fill Diego in on what was discovered in shadow and asks for military assistance. Diego agrees to help but first must make preparations and gather his force. After the conversation, Diego contacts Gerard and presents him with the slippery maiden for use in holding chaosites. He trumps Kelamon and manage to get the device into the dungeons.
Further debriefing of air elementals in the Tir area reveals a disorganized resistance to the Gryphon presence. Information comes to light that one of the Gryphons, a woman, seems to be going out solo and killing quite a number of foes. The description of her abilities leads the Amberites to believe she is one of Flora's forced offspring, probably with Pattern. She sounds formidable, so the trio decide not to try and ambush her outside the city. As they discuss this, they get a report of some sort of flying vessel. Scanning, they see a strange construct riding the ley-line towards the moon above which seems to radiate the strongest Pattern energies. The ley line stretches from the city (apparently the terminus held by Gryphon) and the moon, also presumably under Gryphon control. Zariel is sent in to scout the city, relying on a passing windstorm for cover. Diego arrives with his forces and a small group trumps through to Zariel once he finds an abandoned tower in the city. Diego is imposed upon to shapeshift and impersonate one of the local beastmen to find out more.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Thirteen has actually been seeking the Helgrams in the dark shadow areas with Sabbine and Badger. He apparently fought and destroyed a vampire lord running a small realm last session. Thirteen finds himself in a mostly vacant vampire castle, having dispatched most of the inhabitants. He is accompanied by the weir, Sabbine and an apparently friendly vampire named Kirsten. Thirteen has his limited troops secure the castle and greets the returning enemy patrols, offering them the chance to join or die. He soon has things under control, but notices the prior owner's wards are fading with his death and the nasty neighbors have started probing. He, Sabbine and Badger quickly shore up what they can and try to figure out the best way to find the Helgrams. They decide the capitol is the best place to look, but unfortunately quite a few petty realms run by the unpleasant undead in the area lie between Thirteen and the capitol. Food and supplies also seem to be a problem. Thirteen does some quick shadow resourcing and returns with some foodstuffs to at least keep his garrison in supplies for a while.
The small Amberite force takes up defensive positions in an abandoned tower. Diego shapeshifts himself and one of his henchmen to look like a pair of beastmen, then venture forth to learn what they may. Diego gets to show off his thespian skills and makes contact with a troop of beasties having an impromptu brownie barbecue. Keeping a slight mental contact with Torianna, he mentally reports his discoveries. Only two or three Gryphons take up residence in the local palace. They hold the city and send shipments up to the moon periodically. They fear the female Gryphon who hunts in the desert for sport and is known to have a fierce temper when it comes to guards slacking in their duties. After a while, the company begins to return to the palace and Diego tags along for a bit. He senses some sort of ward on the palace gete with the help of Toriana so decides not to try and infiltrate with the beastmen. Each beastman apparently carried a subcutaneous ID device which allow them to enter without setting off an alarm. Since Diego lacks such a device, he evades and escapes back to the tower to confer with the others. In the meantime, a sewer tunnel guarded only by an undine has been discovered by Zariel. Torianna, Jacob and Fineas descend into the sewer to attempt palace entry, taking care to avoid setting off hidden alarms or traps. The undine is set free of his binding by Jacob and Toriana, and then rebound to Jacob's service for a short while. The three Amberites and Zariel continue on until they are able to sneak into the palace via sewer grates and trump.
It is eventually decided Tanitheel will have to fly to the capitol and trump Thirteen there for some initial recon. She eventually gets there and finds a secluded area to bring in Thirteen. He steps through and they almost immediately sense a Logrus tendril trying to find the source of the trump. Thirteen shifts position and heads to the scummy part of town. He encounters a duo of street thugs intent on robbery but overawes them with a brief display of strength. They take his offer to work for him and gleefully start making plans to start a new gang. About this time Thirteen gets a trump call, a trump call that is detected by the Helgrams and the tendrils are sent his way.
Jacob, Toriana and Fineas emerge into the palace and begin a careful advance into the inhabited areas. They use Zariel to scout ahead, then leapfrog wards using trumps. Eventually this is detected and the poopoo hits the fan. Toriana uses her trump and sorcery to distract the Gryphons while Jacob gets them to chase him around parts of the palace, all to buy Fineas some time to get deeper in undetected and attempt a grab. The Gryphons counterattack and Jacob and Toriana retreat to the tower. Tori contacts Dad, Jacob rounds up his Remans and Diego commands his bodyguards. In the tower, the female Gryphon makes an appearance and tries to kill Jacob. He and Tori counterattack after Gerard is pulled through a trump with some guards and mass mayhem develops. The Gryphons quickly realize they are outnumbered and retreat to the palace. Tori opens a trump gate for the Remans into the palace and trumps Thirteen to bring him into the action. In the palace, Fineas listens to the Gryphons discuss the situation but begins to feel Tori's gate opening. He quickly makes a fast hit and run, successfully wounding the male Gryphon with an envenomed dagger to the chest. He avoids the woman's counterattack and waits for the Remans. They come through, violence begins in the palace and the two Gryphons flee to a nearby tower to grab a ride to the moon. Tanitheel gets shot down by her while carrying Thirteen to the tower, but Thirteen saves her and hauls her into a lower level of the tower. Fineas gets shot at by the female archer She misses, but Fineas gets annoyed and trumps Gerard and Rinaldo for some equipment. Gerard hands Fineas his Desert Eagle with Amber ammo so Fineas tries it out in this shadow. It works. He barely nicks the female Gryphon, causing her to duck and stay under cover. Soon Rinaldo brings Fineas his Barrett sniper rifle with Amber ammunition and they take postion covering the tower while Thirteen charges the tower. One of the ley-line vessels begins to take off and Fineas shoots it down, wounding the male Gryphon again in the process. Thirteen confronts the Gryphons up top but is unable to approach close enough to attack. The female archer continues to try and escape, calling upon the bound air elementals to help. Thirteen uses his magic rope to seize the badly wounded male before he can get away. Soon the escape effort is broken up with more weapon fire, spells and probability control. The male is captured in bad shape. The female finally shadow walks away slightly wounded. No one seems inclined to give chase.
Jacob is only slightly banged up by the end. Tanitheel is hurt bad. Everyone else is pretty much unscathed. The Remans are put in garrison of the palace and a few prisoners are interrogated. The male Gryphon is whisked away to Amber with Diego in attendence to make sure he does not perish. It is learned that Flora had six offspring and what their names and inclinations were. As feared they have Pattern, although it is unlikely their control is quite up to snuff. Other bad news is that the shipments made to the moon were only luxury items. Apparently they are self sufficient so a siege of the moon is pointless.
a series of thick engraved wooden and metal tiles, roughly 2.5 times the size of playing cards, that are linked together in a line by metal rings. The function of the line is to create a wall that optically distorts the locations of whatever is behind it, randomly moving it in one or two of the eight compass directions from 2 to 8 feet (generally the larger the item the greater the distortion).As a side effect of the enchantment people that would have appeared in front of the line do not appear at all (roughly 10-30 percent). it is usefull in making the individual targeting of leaders, and seige instruments difficult, and elmininating accurate remote troop estimation. it is not effective vs. randomized massed fire, nor lateral, arial or flanking troops. it is generally to be used protect ranged troops. the side of the tiles are slotted to allow the linking with a second series of tiles that is designed to damage or delay the first line of attackers in a caltrop like method after they have deactivated the first enchantment via a breach. it is also highly effective when placed in between troops and small defensive pits and traps, as it would mask their location as well.
alchemically treated mojo-form phermones give the wearer (Diego) a +2 (holistic specialization? psyche specialization?) when trying to indulge in well inclined members of the fairer gender +1 to other individuals
the slippery maiden: Diego's favorite chaosian
The slippery maiden is a specialized type of iron maiden designed for the interogation of shapeshifters. many of the stake locations are manipulatable via
handles from the outside, so it is impossible to keep shifting consistantly to avoid pain. also feature are a series of engraved anti-magic wards, a series of
magnets in the casing that tend to create a magnetic field that disorients shapeshifters, the compacity to carry a discomforting electrical current, an input for scalding steam that can cause pain, and seal wounds, a capped insertion point for the insertion of interogation creatures and vermin as well as gruel.
there is also a secret release hatch diego has concealed in case the item is ever captured by chaosians.
shape shifter rounds
special oversize crossbow qaurrels with a hollow center filled with a hard headed parasite that will move around inside a shapeshifter, creating little short term damage, but a serious distraction as they try and expell it due to it'd mobility
Today we had our first combined combat action as the new generation here, and I am giving our actions a mixed review.
to spite some clever field action, as well as manuvering, but there was no clear advance contingency planning.I lost too many good people. It is partly my fault, I was too eager to validate myself, too blood thirsty, and dealing with an oversupply of pent up emotions to establish my plan of action in the usual fashion. I paid a price, most of my people had been with me fifty years, most had family. the order of the day is to stabilize the situation at hand, plan my entrance into society here, let out enough steam to scald 3 city blocks, then establish the criteria for the commitment of troops, and methods for more effective action. I am henceforth likely to refuse the piecemeal commitment of my troops. I will celebrate this victory as part of my coronation gala, but for me it will be hollow.
Partially to account for my frustration is the arrogance of the Rebma doctors. they wish to retain me as an "advisor" n the treatment of my aunt Lewella. I would threaten them with the horrible fate happened the last time some one kept me from one of my patients, but I realized that no one has been the idiotic in the two and a half centuries I have been a doctor. They don't know that I am close to completing what I suspect will be a nearly instant and enduring cure for her with just a little more practice.
I suspect I will need to acquire some troops to aid in our holding of this new conquest, and I need to return to the hidden city of Mapungubwe, return the heads of the fallen warriors, and see what I can resources I can gather using our hundreds of years of friendship, some recently discovered incentives, and my title as an honorary prince.
Where is Everyone?
Gerard and Diego tour the docks and portions of the Amber navy. Following that, they head into Arden and Gerard shows Diego some of the ins and outs of Shadow walking and probability manipulation. The two end up at the main Arden Ranger camp. Gerard give Diego a full trump of the area from Kelamon. The work on some woodcraft, weaponscraft, horsemanship... Gerard basically covers the “being an Amber prince” primer. Diego discusses getting a house in Rebma or Dom Daniel. Gerard allows as to how Diego will have to talk to the queen about a Rebman house.
Jacob and Fineas discuss how to deal with the rebellious Persians. They decide on a group impaling for the unfaithful, rewards for the Persians that stayed loyal. Jacob also determines to contact Derkon to see if the spirits of the 4500 executed can be put to any good use. 200 officers will be turned over the Hunac legal system, and although he keeps the very best of the horses, the majority of traitorous Persian gear will go to the Hunac town that had been held hostage.
Tori sets about abandoning Gwyneth’s castle, removing or destroying useful magical geegaws. Most of Gwyneth’s staff has fled, and Jelerac knows Tori isn’t Aunt Gwenyth, so her cover’s blown. This effort will take a few days, so she sets up some rudimentary defenses (mostly having to do with defending against an attack by spirits) before starting in.
Fineas is still in Aquitaine and, pondering Jacob’s recent trump call, lets the locals handle various tasks while he heads back to Arden to make sure that his Samurai don’t end up doing something in a similar vein to Jacob’s Persians. Knowing that they’re already trained within an inch of a peasant’s life, he leads them off into Shadow to Otosan Iuchi (I.E.: Geisha-land (tm)). He brings along his decadent flunkie (Breggor) for the sake of letting him enjoy it, and brings along Liam to make Quartermaster-type notes on the Samurai’s in-the-field supply needs. He also discusses Liam’s trump needs. Liam claims no real knowledge of quartermaster tasks, and contacts an outdoorsey woman by the name of Telori from his House (Miramon). Telori seems quite compentent in this area and Fineas butters her up.
In preparation for heading out to Otosan Iuchi, Fin checks up on Dara (doing well and on the mend) and Lirazel (the chaosite spy who’s currently under house arrest in a secured townhouse in Amber City). Lirazel seems quite healthy. Fin asks after House Basilisk news. He also asks about a spy he’s located in Aquitaine and wonders aloud to her if the spy is from House Basilisk, as he doesn’t want to irritate her house by killing it. She doesn’t exactly know, since Basilisk works on a “Cell” system. Fin thinks it’s probably Hendrake at any rate.
Thirteen, exploring Johrom, is caught within the mystical fairie edifice of Castle Lag, "where days go by without, during the hours spent therein". He finally escapes somewhere near the end of the session.
Trumps Llewella to check up on her status, but encounters a block of some sort. He makes an effort to find out some things about getting a place in Dom Daniel. He’s asks Fineas about that, but Fin thinks either Toriana or Thirteen would know more about it, so he trumps Tori and asks her about it. She offers to get him Trump-connected to someone. She trumps the DD wizard “Otaru”, who’s currently in Castle Amber. Diego trumps back to the castle to find him and finally does around dusk, up on the battlements where Otaru is playing some sort of Oriental instrument. They discuss Diego’s needs in regards to housing. After getting an idea of the lay of the land in Dom Daniel, he thanks Otaru and heads back to his home Shadow.
Jacob Tepes (the Impaler) sets about taking care of a little punishment. He has a long conversation with Derkon about the possibility of “Spirit Jars” that can be used as a sort of container for a number of spirits that can be released upon the immediate area to an effect similar to Jelerac’s. With 4500 sacrifices and some preparation, the two figure they can gather up about 20 jars with about 100 spirits each, although the jars may degrade with use as spirits escape. He then trump Fineas again to make mention of the mage that attacked Toriana and himself. Fineas is familiar with Jelerac and the two discuss using Beran properly and not antagonizing Jelerac at this moment. Fineas determines to discuss it with Toriana.
Toriana finishes up Jelerac’s trump, somewhat tired. She checks up on her staff and then rests. In the morning, she recieves a trump from Fineas. She shows him Jelerac’s trump when Fin brings him up, and he comes through to talk. They agree to leave the sorcerer alone for now, since Jelerac, by his very nature, is causing Chaosians the sort of trouble that Amber would want to pay him to cause anyway. Toriana (at Fin's suggestion) sets her sights on locating House Griffin’s current stomping grounds. Fineas departs and Tori trumps Flora, asking about House Griffin, who had been Flora’s captors. Flora is currently in Johrom and takes the trump. (Tori is constantly checking for trumping spies.)
Tori asks after any trump Flora managed to make of Griffin’s leaders, but the expeditionary force had left before she was given any sort of freedom around the Ways. Flora’s only idea is that they might have gone someplace that’s “new” since Oberon’s repair of the Pattern during the War.
Fineas contacts Kai-tung and lets her know that Toriana will be in touch with her and how to approach The Princess. He sees to Kai-tung’s needs, informs Toriana and contacts his mother about “his Brother”. They discuss the physics of Trump Gates and other technical bits. Fineas then trumps his brother and moves through to him, where he goes about briefing his kin on the immediate family (it seems that his brother might be making an appearance in Amber soon). He mentions something to his brother about Corwin’s pattern and the possibilities inherent therein. They talk at great length about Amber and the politics of the place.
He trumps Morwyn (his half-sister) and talks to her about setting up things between his shadow and Dom Daniel. He works for a long period of time on Shadowshifting and Pattern-work and speaks at length with Morwyn. Morwyn offers up her services as a trump artist, which Diego gratefully accepts. He then finishes up their tour of Shadow (he’s Shadowshifting a galleon to Amber) with a trump to Gerard.
Speaks with Holrune, Kelamon, and Flora regarding the necromantically active spots in Hunac, Thirteen’s location, and the situation in Johrom, respectively. Holrun considers his situation well in hand, Kelamon mentions that Thirteen’s been summoned to help out Badger in the Helgram Zone, and Flora is hoping he’ll come through and help select the correct 'subject' areas for the trumps that she’s supposed to be making. He commits to arriving there once he’s taken care of impaling 4500 troops. In the meanwhile, he asks that she fashion a trump of Tananda for him (Chumley, Tananda, and Azim are with her at the moment).
Toriana trumps Jacob, who is beginning of the impalings. She passes through a trump of Jacob and Baran (“the Hand”) to him and breaks contact, then contacts Kai Tung to see about overseeing her mission to try to locate Griffin. She comes through to the expedition’s ship with Heinrich, the ‘spy’ Jacob had planted in her party to keep him apprised of her condition, the shape-shifting ‘sniffer’ and a few others. The ship continues on into a sort of Brobdingnag shadow.
Somewhere during the shadow moving, Toriana finds a place where the “feel” of where “the Pattern” is changes... like a gravitational pull that suddenly shifts from being “behind” to being “ahead”. She continues to move towards that “feel”, but encounters a coastline, still with the feeling that the Source of this pull lies further inland. The lost Tir na Nog’th? Corwin’s Pattern? Who knows?
Diego Educates his major-domo on the nature of Shadow, since they can expect more otherworldly visitors. He then sets about moving his Chaosite prisoner to an area better suited to heinous experiments -- Rebma. He then trumps Llewella, fails, Trumps Moire and goes through to check on Llewella's healing progress. She's mobile, using magical gadgets.
Jacob and Derkon handle the impalings and subsequent spirit jar creation -- this takes about two solid days of work. He seals them well and sends Derkon to Arden to meet with his agent at that area. He then takes a "leaking" spirit jar (the first one wasn't a perfect success) via hellride to the home shadow of the Persian traitors, releases those hundred spirits to haunt their families, and trumps through to Flora's hotel, where he sleeps for about 16 hours (in his own securely locked room).
Trumps Fineas and pulls him through to the Shadow where she feels The Pull, in which Air Elementals report Chaosian-type activity further inland (tendril-like power and a tendency to enslave the elementals). They move inland, leaving Kai-Tung to stay on the ship and stay FAR off shore so Tori and Fin have a means to escape any problems that arise. Toriana trumps Jacob.
Jacob gathers 20 of his new persian horses from a temporary corral in Arden (he kept several hundred of the traitorous Persian officer's beasts but donated the thousands of others to the town the Persians had held hostage) and brings them through, then trumps Zariel and has his air elemental speak with the 'natives' to gather and translate information. Zariel reports a city -- under-populated -- about 150 miles away, with a cordone of compelled elementals surrounding it. The inhabitants are a mix of twisted fairy folk and corpse-colored horned individuals. The trio works out a plan to sneak Zariel in past the cordon under cover of a good storm, trump through to him, capture a horned demon and trump away for desultory interrogation.
At the end:
In the Place Formerly Known as Tir-na Nog'th, the huge moon (at least 4x Earth's moon's diameter, and double Amber's) does not move. It sits there at about 20% off directly overhead. It doesn't rotate either -- the system is tidally locked. It is far brighter than Earth's moon, with what are obviously clouds and seas and mountains and lots of green. There's a longish solar and lunar eclipse every day. Days are about 30 hours long. The brownie types are mostly nocturnal. They look something like: this.
Magically, the place is normal and has no obvious barriers to teleporting. It has the same healthy qualities as Amber and Rebma. Air magic seems stronger.
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
I was sitting listening to one of the Aquitaine quartermasters drone on and on about how difficult it was to get adequate feed for my dragoon's mounts when I was trumped by Jacob. I excused myself with some relief and stepped into a private room to take the contact. Jacob looked, well, somewhat annoyed and embarrassed. He quickly informed me that a large contingent of his mercenaries had mutinied and taken a Hunac town hostage. Jacob explained his first inclination had been to slit all their throats on the spot, but had instead gotten some assistance and sleep gassed the lot of them. They were in custody and he was looking for advice on how to deal with them. He further explained that a few hundred had broken with the others and remained somewhat loyal. A complex issue to be sure, but one I had put some thought into in the event my own troops proved disloyal.
A commander must be seen to be fair, perhaps even generous to those who follow him through bad times as well as good. In contrast he must be seen to be ruthless when it comes to betrayal. Public displays of rewards and honors help fuel esprit de corps and help inspire troops to new levels of performance. Likewise public executions are to be used to make an example to others. I agreed with Jacob that adding to the necromantic energies of Hunac was inappropriate and even dangerous so I advised him to manacle the mutineers, march them into shadow a ways to an area devoid of natural paths or nexus links and have them impaled one by one. His Romanic troops would have no qualms about assisting in that and would likely gain a measure of respect for Jacob that they might not otherwise have had. Derkhon our pet necromancer should be at hand to harvest the ghosts into a useful force as an example that not even death can absolve our troops of their responsibility. Jacob took my grim advice and decided to confer with Derkhon to find out what was possible.
After my conversation with Derkhon, I decided it would be wise to look after the morale of my samurai. They were of somewhat similar outlook to Jacob's mutineers, though as a culture take their duty much more seriously. I returned to Arden to evaluate the situation. My men were edgy and in obvious need of female companionship. They had been training hard and well with the rangers so I ordered them to muster and follow me to a place of rest. It would take a couple hours to make ready, so I quickly returned to Amber and rustled up Breggor to accompany this expedition to Geisha-Land. He was enthusiastic about joining, so I checked in with Liam as well. I asked Liam for help in observing the consumption rate for my troops when on the move so I could better estimate logistics when it came time to campaign. Liam begged off on the trip, but assigned Telori of House Mirmon to assist. She agreed to join Breggor and myself and gathered her things. I still had some time to kill, so I checked up on Dara and Lirazel. Dara was doing fine but could not see me at the moment. I shrugged off the snub and visited with Lirazel for a short time.
Lirazel was looking much better, though she was chafing somewhat under the restrictions. I inquired if she had any news yet from Basilisk and asked if Basilisk had a spy in the security organ of Aquitaine. I warned her that I would soon be taking action against a spy I had identified and did not want to step on Basilisk toes if it was one of theirs. She claimed ignorance, advising me that her house operated using a cell structure so she had no way of knowing. She would send a warning up through her channels to be sure. We chit chatted for a while and I teased her about Thirteen's secret admiration for her. It was fun watching the little wheels spin in her head, though I can't help but wonder what permutations were taking place in her thoughts.
It was time to head out so I took my leave of Lirazel and gathered my entourage. I led the way to Geisha-Land and had almost reached it when I am trumped first by Diego asking for information about Dom Daniel and then by Jacob who informs me of his discussions with Derhkon and an altercation with Barran of the Hand and Jelorec. I referred Diego to Thirteen or Toriana since they know Dom Daniel better, but I was greatly concerned by Jacob's information. It seems Toriana had been impersonating Gwyneth out in shadow in an effort to draw out would be captors. Gutsy of her I thought. In any case, she was confronted by Barran (whom I have on retainer) and Jelorac. A fight of some sort ensued and Jacob was brought in to fend off the attackers. Jacob wanted to string up Barran and get Jelorec also. I explained that we needed Jelorac neutral right now and offered to let Jacob take care of Barran after I had gotten some use out of him. We discussed the situation a bit further and Jacob warned me that Toriana was likely to go after Jelorac immediately. I had to stop her if I could, so I thanked Jacob for the intelligence and quickly trumped Toriana.
I did not want to discuss things over trump, so I asked Tori to pull me through when she answered. It was morning in Lynxia where she was staying and she had just finished breakfast and seemed to be in a decent mood. I broached the subject of Jelorac and pleaded with her to save that fight for a later date. I explained to the best of my ability why we needed to concentrate on chaosians and not take on new foes who have congruent interests with us. She listened patiently and agreed to leave him be until we get chaos taken care of. I was surprised at how reasonable she was; not at all what I expected. Perhaps I should cut her a bit more slack as well. She mentioned that she was somewhat at loose ends at the moment, so I asked if she would be willing to help in the search for House Gryphon and the possible Pattern out in shadow. Ky-Tung could certainly use the help and I wanted to give Tori something worthwhile to pursue to keep her mind off Jelorac. Tori warmed to the idea, so I trumped Ky-Tung and told her to expect a visitor. I made Tori out to be worse than she is so that Ky-Tung will be extra solicitous of her good will. I made introductions and left the two to their own devices.
I checked in briefly with Breggor and learned the samurai were safely at their destination and were having a good time. My next call was to Rinaldo. I wanted to prep him for Amber and make sure we are in agreement as to how much to reveal of our abilities and background. Rinaldo was already in Arden, so I stepped through the trump and rode with him for a while. There were many things to discuss. We had not seen each other for a few years. We had not been close and had occasionally engaged in sibling rivalries in our youth, but we have both matured somewhat and I think we may get on better now.
I gave Rinaldo my opinion on the personalities and abilities of the family. I cautioned him that I had not advertised my trump ability, but that he should feel free to make his own abilities known if he deemed it advantageous. He mulled it over and initially decided to take it slow in revealing things to the family. He queried me on what was known of father's fate and who was responsible. I am not entirely positive on the matter myself, so I answered in very general terms. Rinaldo always had a strong sense of honor and I suspected he was looking for an excuse to vendetta with someone. Amber can't really afford that right now, but I wanted to make sure he knew that I take honor much more seriously now than I had in the past.
Your whole outlook changes when one day you become effectively immortal. You realize that everything you do will stick with you through eternity. Reputation affects how all view you and deal with you so to be effective, you must maintain a good reputation with the nobility and even the common folk. Your word becomes your bond and if you break it no one will forget, ever. It is the one true rule for which there is no exception. I pontificated on this philosophy with Rinaldo for a while and he seemed to understand. He will understand even better after he has walked the Pattern and had time to think on things a while.
We discussed mother and her unspoken plans for us. The consensus is she wants one of us on the throne of Amber and the other on the throne of Kashfa. I am ready for neither. I am nowhere near wise enough, patient enough and most importantly powerful enough to hold either position. Kashfa is frankly unimportant to me now that I have been welcomed in Amber. None who now live are suited to be king in Amber in my humble opinion. Gerard is, well, too easily swayed sometimes to be effective as a king. Flora has been compromised by Chaos and I do not think she would have much support from the family. I know too little of Llewella, but she has also been compromised and may be mentally fragile for years to come. None of my peers are seasoned enough for the position and several have fundamental dislikes of what it takes to rule. Jacob has zero inclination for social interaction or diplomacy and little desire for authority of any kind. Toriana has the imperious aura down cold but does not yet understand tact and tends to be impetuous. Thirteen has potential, but his strange background is limiting his development somewhat and one gets the feeling he expects to wake up from a dream someday and does not take the whole thing seriously. If he did, he might make a good choice after a few decades of experience. Diego is too new for me to understand him yet. He seems moody and more concerned with Rebma than Amber in any case. Morwyn is Rebman through and through. A pity because she is probably the best trained for the job of monarch of any of us. Rinaldo understands what it takes to rule, but in my past experience with him he places too much emphasis on what he wants, not what he needs. He has a firm grasp of how powers interact though and may someday have what it takes to be king.
We were drawing nearer to Amber and our discussion turned to what was needed. I gave Rinaldo a rundown of who was doing what. I suggested further research into the potential of a new Pattern in shadow, but he pointed out it was already under investigation. He volunteered to undertake the study of the chaosian geas to see if it could be broken without becoming subject to Chaos. Given the scope of his powers, he seems to be well suited for that since Tori is busy on other projects of more immediate urgency. As a strange coincidence, as I was thinking about her she trumped me from shadow.
Toriana and Ky-Tung had discovered an arid shadow that exhibited signs of a Pattern nearby. Our first hypothesis is that Tir Na Nog'th may have been found. Enemy forces had occupied a city deep in the desert surrounded by enslaved air elementals. Conversation with local free elementals revealed a chaosian force apparently fighting with a local force known as "Hunters". We decided to bring in Jacob, so contact was made and Jacob brought through a string of good horses to mount the ten Samurai I brought with me. Ky-Tung is left on the ship along with Barrett and the ship's crew. The three of us proceed inland with our small force and take shelter under an outcropping to gather more intelligence. Zariel , Jacob's pet elemental is summoned and sent for further recon. It returns with a better idea of what awaits and we sit down to figure out a way to do a snatch mission against House Gryphon.
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
The progress I've made in Aquitaine has been satisfactory. I have arranged simple billeting for my dragoons and have begun the necessary bribery preparations to approach the Sultan to the east. I plan to use the easterners to initially demonstrate against the Hendrake forces, tying up as much of their attention as possible. My apparent main offensive will strike from Aquitaine with Prinz Eugen in nominal command. The reputation of Hendrake is such that I expect them to see this as my plan fairly early on. What I do not expect them to see is that I plan to strike with non-native forces on the eastern front, brought in a while after the Aquitainians move. I will lead that front personally and expect it to wreak havoc if I time things correctly. A week or so of maneuver with the inept easterlings, followed by a few days of serious attacks by Aquitaine and finally the real effort springing from the wreckage of the initial eastern probes. For this to work, I will need to keep my local allies in the dark. They must believe that the main thrust is the Aquitainian campaign and the eastern front just a diversion. I am counting on the chaosian spies to infiltrate the Aquitaine command structure and report back to Hendrake. Misallocation of their assets is key to my plan.
My hardest task now will be to raise an army capable of conquering Chandora in another shadow and moving it to strike suddenly and in force behind enemy lines. This will require two or three trump gates open simultaneously and specialized training for whatever troops I get to willingly charge into the gates. I will need to call upon Torianna, maybe Kelamon and probably Flora to manage the other gates. I would have loved to use Gwynneth as well, but rumor has it she will not be available any time soon. It may be that I have to call upon my brother and convince him to help. He will certainly be interested in taking the Pattern now that I have done so. Once he has walked it and lived, his interests and mine may finally coincide. If we work together, perhaps we will even be able to disguise the fact that both of us are competent trump artists. I was musing about this when I was contacted by Diego, the new cousin. I joined him through the trump and listened to his story.
Diego confided in me that he was concerned by signs of Chaosian tampering with Llewella. He was greatly concerned that Flora may also have been the recipient of such attentions and wanted to make sure she carried no hidden surprises. His techniques sounded somewhat vile, so I advised getting Gerard involved to convince Flora to undergo some degree of testing. Diego seemed disappointed that I was not willing to grab Flora and hold her down while he checked her for implants. I sense issues between he and Flora though I can't imagine what they are. I promised him I would speak with Gerard and do my best to get Flora cleared of any problems. I returned to Amber to speak with Gerard.
It had been a while since I checked back in Amber. I spoke with Gerard at some length about the testing that Diego suggested for Flora. If I am to use her abilities, I want her cleared of any nasty surprises. Gerard is reasonable most of the time, so he had managed to convince Flora to undergo mostly non intrusive testing. She seemed to take it reasonably well and my estimation of her went up slightly. Diego seems to have ill regard for her, but she is slowly impressing me in subtle ways. I can't say that I will ever trust her completely but I will certainly cut her more slack now than I might have done a few days ago.
Our conversation turned to other topics and I decided to test the waters for mother and Rinaldo. I let slip that I had a full brother and Gerard pounced on it immediately. When queried, I admitted that Rinaldo would likely be willing to join the family but asked for privacy with regards to my mother. I had no doubt Rinaldo would accept the offer, but I had serious doubts that it would be in mother's best interest to step into the limelight. Her stewardship of the Keep would possibly be compromised and she is unable to take Pattern to replace it. Besides, it is always wise to keep a sanctuary available in case the universe turns to shit.
Our discussion finally turned to the geas Dara claimed was responsible for the invasion. Her idea to adopt Gerard and thus complete the terms of the geas seemed too easy. I was afraid that by doing this, Gerard could potentially fall under the geas or could in some mystical way fall under the dominion of that squatting toad ruling Chaos. More research is needed but I am certainly not the one best qualified to do it. I am sure father would know what would happen, but he never imparted that level of knowledge to me before his demise.
My little chat with Gerard ended and I found myself being trumped by the lovely Ky-Tung. She had acquired ship and crew and was ready to seek out rumors of strange happenings in shadow. In order to speed things along she requested that I plow a path through shadow for a time. I had a better idea; I stepped through the contact and plowed her for a few hours, then opened a trump gate for the ship to sail through. The effort was exhausting (the gate opening, not the plowing) and I dropped from the effort. When I awoke, I reminded myself to use a coin the next time. Opening a gate that big for that long was as tiring as walking the Pattern. We were safely in port, so I spent some time to recover and made a couple of trump sketches of the place to wile away the time.
When I found myself alone for a time, I trumped mother and broached the subject of Amber to her. As I suspected, she was tempted but not enough to give up the Keep. She was all for getting Rinaldo involved, so I asked her to contact him and let him know I would speak to him about it soon. Time was getting late and I had work to do in Aquitaine. I bade Ky -Tung a fond farewell and returned to Aquitaine to work on the plans to crush Hendrake.
I feel like Harry Houdini. I feel like I have been bound and dropped headlong into a shark tank, naked . everyone here seems to be distrusting, looking for an angle, and questioning your motivations. If they can't learn to understand the real importance of family, maybe the enemy has already won.
To simplify things, a large degree of this difficult work atmosphere comes from poor parenting, the first generation was awful, the second generation clueless, and now it is up to us, the improvised last hope for this legacy, and consequently, most life as we know it. So far I seem to be the only one who has had a decent upbringing, not to mention a wonderful family of my own. I have no idea what to do here. it isn't like I can take them over my knee, or hire an endless line of wet nurses stretching into infinity to fill the void. My family here is amazingly powerful, but I suspect if someone could find the obscure center of their pain, they would shatter like glass. It brings to mind Citizen Kane, in the end they will all cry out for their individual "Rosebuds". (that reminds me, after his visit to the island, I sent Mr. Welles some of our spicy clacker sausage, he wrote back, after devouring it, and asked for more. if he keeps eating our rich sausage that rapidly, even my treatments will not be able to save him). it is easier to understand why they act and organize like the keystone cops with ego problems.
My main concern in this area relates to my sister. I have not been as happy since our boys were born, as when I saw her. An amazing flower has grown up in the trail of slime left across time by my biological father. We are both sailors. She seems to be having a hard time getting used to the new situation, having grown up in the shark tank, but I have no intention of letting the local hereditary insanity affect our relationship. If it requires me surgically implanting the fact that she can count on her brother next to her spine, I've got the scalpel ready! I want to pummel a man who gets too fresh with her. I want to perform all the sacred atagonistic rituals of an older sibling, that my brothers did to me. I want to cheer for her team. I don't want to be alone ever again. It was worth finding out that the world is more insane then I ever imagined, to have her watch as I laid the flowers on our son's grave in honor of his birthday
god, am I tired
Love always - D