The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
3:00 pm: I can't help but feel time is slipping away from us. I recognize the political necessity of all these celebrations and galas, but I fear our enemies are not occupied by such frivolities. Yesterday I learned that Rinaldo had arranged his investiture for this evening with a public celebration to follow. I find this not particularly onerous, but taken together with the incredibly gauche display that Diego has planned for his gala in a couple of days my patience for Amber society is wearing a little thin. I have not had enough hours strung together back to back to accomplish any of my recruitment goals for the upcoming campaign against the Hendrakes. Instead, I have been forced to attend to Tir Tarngir (admittedly a priority) and attempting to keep my various relations happy (not really an urgent priority).
Jacob is still on the outs with Gerard to some degree and his assistance is missed. More than anyone, we need his help now in gathering strength and he is lost to us because of politics and egos. Thirteen has a huge responsibility with the Helgram front having been neglected for too long and I am loathe to increase his burden. Diego is preoccupied with Rebman relations it seems and despite his assertions to the contrary does not seem to devote enough time to the Gryphon front, his designated sphere of responsibility. I do not think he has done so much as to speak with the prisoner yet. Toriana is never long in one place it seems. She helps with interrogations and occasional trumps but is apparently wrapped up in her own private world much of the time. I can only hope it is in fruitful pursuit of our goals. As you might have guessed, we are not in each other's confidence. Rinaldo is my hope for getting things done around here. He is still eager to please and has only run afoul of Toriana so far, which everyone does.
6:00pm: I have spent the afternoon getting ready to attend Rinaldo's ceremony. I trumped Ky-Tung into my villa and we spent a few hours outfitting ourselves in appropriate attire. I sent word to my publicist that I would arrange for him to be in attendance and would get him access to the inner circle so to speak. Gerard has left word that he wishes to speak to me about something. Now, standing solemnly at Rinaldo's investiture he gives me no indication of what it might be. Rinaldo is really enjoying this whole thing I can tell. He arrived with not one but two ladies in attendance. Perhaps he intends to vie with Thirteen as the ladies' man of the family. Toriana, Jacob and Diego are all missing from the ceremony. That ought to set the tongues wagging about in-house jealousies.
8:00pm: Well surprise of surprises! After the ceremony Gerard pulled me aside and asked that I consider attuning to the Jewel of Amber. The trinket could come in damned handy I understand so I immediately said yes. The process was not especially difficult, much less so than walking the Pattern itself. While I took a few minutes to recover, I tried to get a take on what Gerard's feelings were about dealing with the remaining Pattern initiated Gryphons. He seemed to have no strong opinion one way or another. I guess I'll have to take them on a case by case basis. Gerard did let slip that he had pored through Oberon's files to locate likely family members able to take Pattern. He deemed some unsuitable for the honor but was willing to get a second opinion. I asked if I could review the files myself. He was agreeable and gave orders that I would be allowed access. I left feeling a little better about things and rejoined the celebration.
10:00pm: Well things have gotten VERY interesting. We had a brief panic about an hour ago when we all felt a strange psychic "pop" from Chaos way. My first worry was that the vile chaosians had figured out a way to gate directly to Amber and an attack was imminent. Further study revealed a local source of the strange power at Lirazel's residence. I gathered some men and went to investigate. I encountered Tori chatting with Lirazel, both in strange spirits. Tori informed the family that Swayvill had "taken the coda" as my musician friends say and the geas had lifted. We returned to the party which had just become much more festive. I can't help but wonder what are all the ramifications?
11:00pm: Pardon my ramblings here... the wine is hitting harder than I like and my mind is awhirl with possibilities. As I scribble these notes, Ky-Tung is getting a bit frisky and is doing her best to distract me with ear nibblings and whispered suggestions. Suggestions I fully intend to take here very shortly, but first I need to catch Flora before she slinks off with her victim for the evening. I have been occasionally perusing Oberon's prose and some thought occurred to me in my present state... what if he has hidden tidbits of encrypted information in his writings? It would be a fun exercise to see if anything can be found, real or imagined. I'm gonna go chat with her and see if she has any Earth folks that could help. Damn! I just knocked over my drink! Oh, and Diego finally showed up and looks intent on getting his ashes hauled. Good man! He needs to loosen up a bit! Now, if I can get the server to bring the next drink a little stronger....
12:00am: Did I mention my Ky has a fantastic ass?
1:30am: Made it home. Not sure how. Ky-Tung is sleeping soundly now after a good bout starting in the entryway, moving to the kitchen, through a couple of halls and finally ending up on my bedroom floor by the fireplace. Time to pass out.
8:30am: I woke up about an hour ago feeling famished, so I imposed upon my brownies to prepare a hearty repast. Ky-Tung is still sleeping. About half an hour ago Jacob trumped me to apologize for missing Rinaldo's party. He seems in better spirits now than he did when he left. I pulled him through and had the brownies whip him up something to eat. The poor guy looks like he could use a square meal now and again. He just left again, but we were able to discuss things of substance. He has recruited or is recruiting a large tribe of low tech warriors and he seems confident of their fidelity. I asked him for help in getting the supplies I will need to feed my intended army and he said he would help. He seems happier when busy and not bothered with the politics of Amber. Between the two of us, we should be able to scratch together a couple of decent armies to begin our counterattacks. I need to get a take on where best to use them now.
11:00am: Got Flora's staff working on my numerologist/cryptographer search. I've been thinking about what we can do to shape Chaos to our advantage with the departure of Swayvill. At first glance, the Gryphons looked like a good horse to back, but the more I think on it, the worse that idea seems. Do we really want another House to have control of both Chaos and Tir Tarngir? I think not. Competition is good, but too much of a good thing is bad.
As a soldier, doctor, and traveller I have washed a ocean of blood off my hands, and none of it has left as deep a stain as my few concessions to politics. It is for this reason, I am now going to periodically keep track of my opinions in a more conventional format, in the hopes of being able to at some point make sense of this hopelessly fluid situation in which I find myself .
In general the analogy I can make for the present period is one of walking to the hangman with aplomb. it would appear publicly that I have enormous exuberance for my coronation, when in fact the endeavor has all the zest of a funerary procession for me. Firstly I am deeply troubled not only by the familial embrace of the degenerate craft of necromancy, but a readiness to make accommodations for an enemy that deserves no quarter. Our enemies behavior cannot even be conditioned to the degree a common house pets could. they must be slaughtered without mercy until they fit comfortably, and humbly under our thumb. come the morrow my views on the subject will be painfully clear to all, from the gallows of my coronation. The vows they are requiring me to take there, they make a ready mockery of in this respect.
I suspect in the future I will look at my decision to assume this new role critically, but there was not really a choice to option out. If Amber dies too many splendid lives will fall. The noxious carbuncle on Kolvir mountain has deep roots that hold too many things together.
I now have residences at which I can offer hospitality to those who are of a virtuous mindset.
I recently acquired some women who were held as pleasure slaves by a chaos noble (a truly oxymoronic term). I have a strange mix of emotions towards them, both pure, and impure. It has become clear to me that I cannot weather the life here without the feminine comforts I have denied myself for too long. I am not sure how to handle the situation in a gentlemanly manner. If a great man like Thomas Jefferson could harbor his indulgences, and still accomplish what he did, I suspect I might require mine, an opiate for a strange and savage place.
I made my return to Rebma, to aid my fallen aunt. I know my treatment will be a success, but the temptation to do a premature victory dance around my premature detractors there was nearly insurmountable. I think my aunt, and I will be solid friends. she appears to have amazing integrity. Moire is difficult to read, and occasionally difficult to deal with, but offers charm, and grace beyond words. Morwyn is my island of pride and happiness in a turbulent sea. Rebma itself seems to focus on ornament , and indulgence too much for my taste.
so let me close by offering up a vicarious toast to myself in the future reading of these words.. here's to solid research, girls, and gun-powder that works.
"The King has left the building!"
Thirteen spends quality time with the regent Gerard. They discuss the Jewel of Amber, (not to be confused with the Jewel of Judgment) and Gerard indicates his desire that several of the cousins attune to it in the event it is needed in battle. The conversation moves to Rinaldo's investiture celebration and the upcoming gala for Diego. From there, Thirteen shares his plan about creating shadow paths from the Helgram areas to Tir Tarngir in the hopes the two houses will interfere with each other. Gerard has no problem with that plan and Thirteen takes this as tacit approval to begin. After his discussions with Gerard, Thirteen spends some time with Sabine to help her learn how to use her new Broken Pattern abilities. They decide to do on the job training, so Thirteen gathers his weirmonken entourage and heads off into shadow. While tutoring Sabine in the fine art of moving through shadow, Thirteen begins to sense he is being followed. After a while he tries to double back on the shadow trail to catch his follower but is not immediately successful.
Fineas continues staffing his new villa and heads to Arden to collect ten of his better samurai as personal guards. He brings them back and gets them settled when he learns that Rinaldo has set his investiture celebration for that evening. Fineas contacts Ky-Tung and brings her through to the villa to prepare for the festivities. He alerts his publicist, rounds up suitable Napoleonic period attire, prepares his envenomed dagger and sleeve derringer, and generally makes arrangements for the festivities.
Diego makes the final arrangements for his gala. He is trumped by Llewella who is understandably anxious to undergo his new treatment to accelerate her limb regrowth. He informs her to be ready to begin in about four hours as he is detained with final preparations. He next trumps Torianna and requests that he be given access to Gwyneth's seized property for auction to fund his campaign against the Gryphons. She cavalierly agrees to give him everything but the trumps. Next on his agenda is a brief personal invitation to Dara, thanking her for her help in Tir Tarngir. She accepts and he quickly moves on to perform a bit of larceny, taking one of the four remaining library globes without asking and delivering it straight to Queen Moire. He then summons his concubines for a repast, during which he drains his own blood into jars for use in Llewella's treatment.
Tori presumably spends time constructing a safe repository for the Jewel of Amber as well as some other secret stuff.
Jacob trumps his associate Billybo and warns him to expect some nice horses for care and training, along with a tribe of newly recruited warriors. He then sends his new associate Santee to the Arden ranger station for advanced hand to hand training and hellrides off into the sunset to locate more Indian style warriors. He searches until he finds a shadow where the tribes are still strong but facing impending encroachment from more technologically advanced cultures. He sets the stage to present himself as a holy spirit, offering a path to a better destiny. With Zariel in tow and some minor weather manipulation he manages to convince the natives to arrange a great council to discuss his prophecy of doom and destruction.
Thirteen finally gets a vague visual on his follower. He tries to drop it with his crossbow, but only manages to wing the obviously shapeshifting figure. It manages to slip away in a heavily forested area. As he is about to try and track it down, he is trumped by Gerard and is pulled back to Amber to attend Rinaldo's ceremony and celebration. After getting cleaned up Thirteen attends and notices that Rinaldo has two women on his arms, Caradwen and Veronika. He begins the mingling process, targeting Dara for some future private conversations.
Fineas attends the ceremony and celebration with Ky-Tung in tow. He is pulled aside by Gerard after the ceremony and asked to attune to the Jewel of Amber when it is convenient. For Fineas, the addition of personal power is always convenient so he immediately goes with Gerard and attunes to it on the spot. They then discuss Chandora, Tir Tarngir and the situation in general for a while until Fineas is recovered enough to return to the party. Fineas works the crowd, but is careful not to outdo his brother. A short while later, all present feel a powerful psychic wave of magical energy emanating from the direction of Chaos. A local source is identified as Lirazel's abode, so Fineas rounds up some guards to carefully investigate.
Diego begins his treatment of Llewella after elaborate methods to put her at ease beforehand, including a comical softshoe routine with Rodrigo, the Horseshoe Crab of Blinding Bliss. When the time comes, Diego makes his body available to Llewella as a sort of prosthetic suit, force-feeding nutrients directly to the stumps and stimulating nerve tissue growth. It's all very disturbing.Together they enter a healing trance that lasts for some hours. After four hours and the judicious application of his blood, he is able to slip away to begin his own recuperation. He too suddenly feels the psychic wave but does not learn until later what it heralds. After contacting Amber, he learns of Tori's explanation.
Jacob meets the great council and details what horrible things they can expect in the near future. He offers them a way out if they will follow him to new lands where they will have to fight but will be free of the current dangers facing them. The natives are cautious and do not immediately agree, but tell Jacob they will think on it and discuss amongst themselves. Jacob replies that he will return in one moon's time and make the offer again. He soon feels the disturbance from chaos and trumps Toriana. She alerts him to what has happened. Apparently the King of Chaos has kicked the bucket and the geas has come off. They exchange a few details and Jacob signs off to trump his spy Griv. Griv confirms what Tori told him and they discuss the best way to take advantage. Griv is concerned that Amber will want to put another despot on the throne rather than allowing a non feudal structure to take its place. Jacob puts him at ease somewhat, but does not make any promises. Jacob alerts Griv of the necessity to use trump sketches frequently to maintain their link.
Emerging from secrecy, Toriana has been querying Lirazel about the fate of other elders when the wave hit. Lirazel was stricken briefly but recovered to share the good news of Swayvill's death with Tori. She then offers Tori a recording of the last battle of Benedict. She explains that Benedict killed about eighty foes before being finally defeated by the Queen of Air and Darkness. The Queen sounds scary and is really old and powerful. She appears to have taken Benedict alive and is reputed to be a great trainer of heroes. No one knows if Benedict recovered or what his current disposition is. They discuss the likely response of Hendrake and other houses to the death of Swayvill. Tori then contacts the rest of the family to call a meeting to discuss the new situation. She trumps to the celebration and informs Gerard what has transpired.
After learning of the demise of Swayvill, Thirteen corners Dara at the celebration and asks her intentions with the changed situation. She informs him that she is committed to Amber now and is pleased that the geas has dropped from her chaosian side of the family. She warns that Chinaway is determined to kill Gerard for personal glory and is unlikely to ease up on the Hendrake offensive until Gerard is dead. She does not elaborate on why Chinaway has a hard on for Gerard but thinks the rest of the house would likely wish to return to chaos to advance their claim to the throne. Thirteen asks Dara how she would feel about helping against the Helgram offensive and she indicates some interest. She makes no hard promises but gives Thirteen the impression she is not overly fond of that side of her family.
Fineas returns to the party and listens to Toriana's explanation of events. He then pulls Gerard aside and discusses at length what should be done on the various fronts and what the likely repercussions would be. The status of Tir Tarngir is of particular interest and they speculate on what House Gryphon may do now. The consensus is they have a sweet deal in Tir and are unlikely to abandon it, though they may use their armies to move against the other chaosians rather than Amber. Fineas suggests making a stronger bargain with Basilisk, offering to support their puppet choice for the throne of Chaos in return for help purging the other houses from the Amber shadows. The possibility of using House Gryphon for that task is discussed. Before the party ends, Fineas returns to catch Flora before she slinks away with her boy-toy. He asks her for assistance in obtaining certain specialists from shadow Earth. In particular he asks for mathematicians, numerologists and cryptographers to analyze certain texts in the library, Oberon's book of poetry for one. She seems amused and agrees to put her staff to work assisting in this endeavor.
Early in the morning following the party, Jacob trumps Fineas to catch up on things and offer his apologies to Rinaldo for missing the party. They discuss much of what has transpired and compare notes on what they are doing. Fineas asks Jacob for help in obtaining the logistical material needed to sustain one hundred thousand troops for a campaign in Chandoria. He suggests boosting a cargo vessel loaded with preserve foodstuffs and transferring the cargo to sailing vessels to bring it closer to Chandoria. Jacob has no problem with that and bids him farewell after the short breakfast. He then seeks out Toriana for some trump help, gets caught up with her doings and convinces her to come to Texorami to make a few strategic trumps. He leaves her to her work and lets the retainers have a little fun exploring.
Having recovered sufficiently after gorging himself, Diego makes a desultory appearance at Rinaldo's party. Things have gotten quite lively and Diego hooks up with a random socialite lady for an evening of carnal activity. In the morning he sets out to establish his own villa, bringing along the Gryphon concubines. He gets them set up in style, more or less running his local household and then contacts Morwyn to see if she is free yet. Sadly, Morwyn is still saddled with official duties but expects to be able to make his gala in a couple of days. Diego offers his best men as additional security for her visit and coordinates as best he can. He then sees to more final preparations for the gala, establishing pre appointments for those nobility involved in trade to see what wares his shadow has to offer.
Thirteen pays a visit to his favorite part of the castle, the dungeon. He interrogates the prisoners for their take on the death of Swayville and receives predictable answers. Alkazaar seems hopeful of his early release and Thirteen holds out that possibility to get more information. He finds out a little more about the Queen of Air and Darkness, what the various houses are likely to do. Kirron is a little less talkative at first and claims Amber attacked the Gryphon's unjustly. Stifling his laughter, Thirteen hears him out and is told much of the Gryphon force will likely be re-engaged in a new chaosian civil war. Thirteen leaves him with the thought that he too might be allowed to go home soon.
(not the word for word text of the actual press release)
so the gala is primarily divided up into sections in the style of a turn of the century exposition, or state fair.
1- Vulnavian hospitality hall, 2- victory hall, 3- concert hall, 4- entertainments hall, 5-hall of games, 6- main square
the coronation ceremony begins at noon, and the festivities at 3pm until extremely late.come early! the gala celebration kicks with a 400 string chorus of african warriors performing a song of tribute.
1- Vulnavian hospitality hall
featuring the concubines, free rum, and generally being the capital of swag. also there are arts and crafts demonstrations, and price listings for our goods with sales people ready to assist you with your order, be it retail or wholesale. loads of rum with special commemorative labels. a good place to pick up souvenirs.this hall will be home of Rodrigo, the singing clacker. there are several cages featuring exotic vulnavian wildlife.
2- victory hall
proudly displaying the spoils of war, with several displays about the vileness of the enemy. home of the war fundraiser auctions of war spoils, vulnavian items (including a diego bachelor auction), local merchant donations, and whatever else reasonable we can get our grubby mitts on, all major businesses, and houses have been asked to contribute to the cause. adjoins the hall of games
3- concert hall
a rotating schedule of bands including Diego's own Vulnavian all-stars, and a superlative band from his shadow as well as marquee local acts
4- entertainments hall
like the concert hall only with a more diverse array of performances
5-hall of games
charitable gambling, gentleman's lounge, and beer garden adjoining victory hall. entertainments provided by the street of silks merchant association. no minors admitted
6- main square
family fun featuring a vast array of carnival styled games all revolving around the destruction of chaosites. street performers, and select local food, craft, and merchandise booths
"The last of the Chantris' warehouses emptied in anticipation of coming
"Prince 13's Cheats death in Tir Tarngir"
"Amber forces retreat from Gryphon held territory"
"Prince Fineas' Heroic effort in the defense of Tir Tarngir"
"The treasure's of Tir Tarngir: What secrets does it's ancient library hold?"
"Prince-to-be Diego's post-Investiture Gala to be biggest in Amber since
King Oberon's Last wedding"
The Herald Unicorn
"Princess Flora finds love in Johrum"
"Llewella's Savior: Prince-to-be Diego providing new healing therapy"
"Has the Royal Family Abandoned its duties to the People of Amber"
"Princess Toriana - A Rebman in Amber; Can a calm cool head tame the
"Prince-to-be Rinaldo's investiture this week: Is he as great as his Brother?"
The Shipping News
"House Miramon finds new source of silver, Family stock rising"
"Prince 13's new flame: Vampire teen girl?"
"From Badgrrl to Good-Girl: Lady Dara saves the day in Tir Tarngir"
"Amber trade with the GCK's returns to normal after defeat of Chaosian
"Prince Jacob's shame: Slaughter in Hunac"
"Prince Jacob Ruins Prince-to-be Diego's Investiture: Queen Moire Cancels"
"Ten new sexual techniques that will have her sitting up and begging for more!"
"Ambrosia's top ten trick tips"
"Prince-to-be Rinaldo leaves Caridwen Breathless"
The Genealogy Book
The book, actually an elaborate but short book of praise for the Tir Tarngiran monarchy, is titled The Royal Family.
The first chapter lists the short family tree.
Barimen (founder of the house)
[several unnamed generations]
Dworkin m. the Goddess Amalthea (no ancestors listed for her)
\ \ \
Lir Morgana Oberon
Lir’s, by Edain – Mananan, Elathan, Tethra,
Mananan’s, by Fand – Maeve, Donn
Elathan’s, by Shannon – Taliesin
Tethra’s, by Vuall – Neave
Morgana’s, by Aegon – Sebastian, Miranda
M.’s, by Prospero – Celia, Tybalt
Miranda’s, by Gregorio – Belario, Olivia, Solino
Oberon’s, by Valeria – Tamora, Alexas, Griffith
Lir seems to have been a generalist. Oberon was primarily a soldier and a poet. Morgana was supposedly wonderful at everything. Rebma’s and Amber’s princes are not important to the writer.
The Princes of Tir Tarngir were also wonderful at everything, almost as good as their mother, but did specialize a bit. Sebastian excelled at soldiering. Miranda was a power monkey. Celia was a scholar and diplomat. Tybalt was a young, dashing soldier.
There are pictures (some line drawings and some very nearly photographs) of the Tarngiran royals, Lir, Oberon, Dworkin and Amalthea.
Oberon looks like the paintings in Amber Castle (Sean Connery, but more arrogant) but much younger and happier. Dworkin (Max von Seedow) is not a hunchback or a dwarf. Amalthea (Grace Kelly)is a quietly beautiful, pale-complected woman with nearly metallic golden hair.
Many events, apparently well known at the time, are alluded to which involve a slew of Tarngiran ‘golden circle’ shadows you’ve never heard of. Chaos is mentioned as a recurring threat. The First War With Chaos sounds like something out of Norse mythology, with hordes of monsters versus Dworkin & Family. The Second War With Chaos was fought less than a century prior to the writing of the book. It sounds something like the Chaosites you know and an actual military campaign, though with references to some horrible weapons. (Bio weapons, which the Barimens turned against the Chaosites. Something called a ‘hellburner’. Something called the World Eater that Miranda, and her grudgingly acknowledged assistant Alexas, son of Oberon, are credited with nullifying.) Another war with Chaos is presented as a given, due to the wholly evil nature of the enemy. (No mention is made of Dworkin having come from Chaos.)
The rest of the book is a lot of flattery.
clacker ecology part 1
a 3.8 to 5.5 foot high crab that walks semi-erect. now picture it
with huge oversized spring-like legs design for
pouncing where the feet on a human would be.
theprimary arms have large plates on them with manipulatory limbs on the tips, a second lower manipulatory limb equally plated comes out at the elbow. the plating between the two manipulatory limbs on the inside becomes sharp, and pincher like. the 2 other sets of secondary limbs are sharp, and pointed
used mostly in scuttling and digging as well as grasping prey. the front of the creatures top to bottom the head and sensory organs are largely under the outcropping of the top shell plating. the mouth has terrible fangs,
and shark like teeth. a small series of retractable spike-like spines can
further impale the prey, or be placed in the sand to sense vibrations.
the most thinly coated area on the stomach are 2 holes that cover tubes that lead to the stomach, and can squirt digestive acid out to help in feeding,
predigesting the food in the manner of a spider. their coloring ranges from reds and oranges in the younger grabs to grays and browns in the older, some have been blessed with a rock-like speckled caprice
they are called clackers, because their name in their language is basically unpronounceable, and they are earnest and chatty creatures. they sound like happy typewriters with whistles where the carriage return would be. their language is so intellectually and physiologically different from others that using supernatural translation successfully to any great degree is very rare, most people can learn 1 to 3 dozen basic phrases that suffice for most needs, but should expect periodic misunderstandings. to have a fuller range of communications diego had developed specialized octarinas, rattles, and other items to aid in communication. to have full command of the language it would take an altered voice box, and considerable learning.
their culture is somewhat fatalistic, They were originally part of a rigid caste system that involved larger darker members of their own race that lived in deeper waters. e they don't really have a problem with the occasional individual that is honored in sacrifice to the stomach of the great sorcerer. (because of his general kindness and shape shifting combat form they refer to diego as the great sorcerer.) they love to have him bless their eggs. they practice cannibalism on members of their own race who violate extreme taboos, and even they admit they are divinely tasty.
the primary advantages of them as troops are their rapid replishment cycle, their leap, and camouflage ability, looking like rocks, but not that tough against fire arms, or chaos. the primary advantage is their portability. because of problems with scarcity on their native shadow, they can place themselves in hibernation-like dormant state, compacting into their shells for up to 2 months, so you can stock them up in small spaces readily.
personality wise they are eager and earnest to a fault when treated with modest amount of respect.
Full Trumps make a permanent link between image and subject. Only major, sudden personality changes, like amnesia, will block the link. So far as you know.
Trump Sketches make temporary links. Left unused, the link will fade and break within a couple of months. If used regularly, for several minutes once a week or so, the link renews itself and will last indefinitely.
I woke up before the sun made it over the ocean. Something about this
place has me more on edge than I normally would be at home. Not that the
level of watchfulness is any higher here...It's just done in away that I don't
seem to be able understand. People watching you, taking notes. Ever
present electronic devices recording everything. That was what was normal.
Unblinking, Non-judgmental machines taking in, sifting, and filing away every
little detail to be used later. That was the Duty of the #2. To sort, to
sift To judge.
Not so here. The Judges are my new Family. The new Number Two doesn't
seem to have any duties. He has told me as much. "I am not here to be you
and the rest of the Families Nanny." he had told me. Or at least he will tell
me so. That was what the Dream showed.
They have no regard for resources. I have seen the 4000 in the dream. On
spikes. What a waste.
So He Doesn't want to be the Nanny. One could interpret this many ways.
I choose to see it in a more liberating way. The most freedom I have ever
felt. I will choose what orders to obey and which ones can be ignored (we
will se what the computer program does about this). No Nanny means no
intervention. Well, except for the Brat. He'll be the Nanny when it comes
to her. Or maybe, more aptly, the Nursey. After the Jacob/Morwyn affair
the sky seems to be the limit. A slap on the wrist, a pat on the back, and
off you go.
Sadly the only one of My family members that I find myself trusting is the
one that the whisperers tell me not to. Things about his blood line. Things
that do not matter to an outsider. But, I do feel that Fineas can be trusted
like any equal back in the Village. Face to face and never turn your back
Jacob though, has proven to be the surprise in the bunch. Who knew that
inside that gruff, silent, loner exterior was a sociopathic whack job. When
the contracted Necromancer has to go off on a several day drinking binge
just to get the screaming out of his head you know you've really done
something. No wonder the Remen troops were in fear of him and would not
disobey his standing order. Fineas mentioned in passing that Jacob was a
sunburned-crackhead-freak. I am beginning to see that he has gone way
The Brat is still the Brat. The universe seems to be unable to punish her
for her arrogance. But, from what I've been hearing, the whole of Rebma
is just like her. It makes ones skin crawl just thinking about it.
The newest Member of our happy little band of brothers is Diego. He
seems to be his mothers son. He and the Brat have a lot in common.
Hopefully for him, Tori doesn't find this out. In a moment of what some
would call a lapse of reason, Diego confided to us (Fineas, Rinaldo, and
Jacob) the reason he hates Flora is because she made him horny.
I am insulted that He pouted like a little girl over that fact that Jacob and
I decided that his little party with the Gryphon's was not worth our time
and effort. Though I can see why Fineas did it. His Propaganda machine
must be kicking in big time over the "Glorious fighting withdrawal from the
House of Gryphon". He played Diego masterfully. Allowing Diego to fuss
and fret over every little detail, While he himself had a straight forward,
no nonsense plan to kill as many Gryphon's as possible. Nice.
My mistake, I have forgotten Fineas' Brother Rinaldo. I can picture these
two in my mind. Two little red headed kids telling their mother "he hit me
back first" with an evil gleam in their eyes. They both have the same
preoccupation with there mother, Some have said that this leads to
unheathly lifestyles...since they are both of the blood, maybe they are
One begins to wonder about their Mother. She bore the both of them from
the same father. This would seem to be an oddity among the younger
generation. The elders didn't seem to have enough time (as their Father
did) to procreate. And the fact that they have not brought her to live in
the comfort and glory that is the "One True City". Either they are
embarrassed by her, or she has something to hide. She seems to be a
mistress of Trump. At least as good if not better than Kelamon. An other
Rebman exile? Somebody else that upset Moire's delicate sense of
propriety? This will have to be figured out.
But now back to our story....
I woke up to the sound of knocking at the door. Sabine kicked me and I got
up. It was the Page Matt with a request for my presence from the Regent.
It also included a request to see Sabine. It was time for her testing to see
if she was ready to take the Broken pattern. We got ourselves presentable
and headed to his rooms.
He was in the middle of a work out when we entered the room. When he
was done with his rep he got up and went into his Bedroom and came back
with a pretty gem on a chain. He asked Sabine to approach him. She had
goose bumps as she did so. He held the gem up to his eye and focused on
her for a few minutes. He said that she looked ready, but he wanted to be
sure that she was physically capable since the walk would kill her if she
wasn't. SJG walked into the room as if on que and put Sabine through her
paces. After about an hour (#2 had gone back to his exercises) SJG
pronounced Sabine fit enough to Walk the Broken Pattern. #2 clapped and
told her to go and get some rest, and that we were going to his fathers
private Broken Pattern. Sabine was worn out but she had a vital glow about
her when he told her this.
Sabine headed to the baths, then to get a massage and then straight to
When she had left I handed #2 the copy of the family tree that I had
been able to cobble together from the Tir Tarngir library. We talked about
all of the implications of a whole other branch of the family. He said that
he would take a look at the library when Rinaldo got it put back together
He then asked me if I was going to help Diego in his defence of Tir Tarngir.
This was a very large bolt out of the blue...not that much different from
asking me what I was going to do with My wife Toriana. I told #2 that
Rinaldo, Fineas and I had tried to talk Toriana into taking command of that
new front, but that she had balked, so we had decided to abandon it after
we had liberated the library. I confessed that I did not know that Diego
had and kind of military experience, or the desire to participate in the war
with chaos. He told me that he was going to help Diego even if nobody else
was, and that he was not the Regent to be our baby sitters. He was
starting to get into his grumpy/sulky mood...time to get out of the Castle
and find some useful things to do.
I made my way downstairs and talked to Dante's concubines for a while. No
real info except for wild lying about the Gryphon's power and military
force. Like sex slaves know anything useful, but Cousin Diego seems to find
them valuable, so I won't do interrogate them as strenuously as I
should...they'll be his problem now. Speaking of problems...where was
I tracked down Kirsten. She was subtly impressed with Amber, but she
complained that there was nothing to "eat". I told her that it was her lucky
day, and that we were going to solve this problem of hers. She looked a bit
fearful, and balked a second when I signaled her to follow me out to the
stables. I started to quiz her about her need for blood; what she got out
of it, what she needed from it, What it felt like for her to drink
somebodies blood, and how she felt afterwards. She thought it odd that I
was asking her these questions, but soon she was in full gab mode. The
first place that I shifted us to was a nice pasture with some grazing
animals. I told her to try one of these and she got off of her horse walk up
to the nearest one and bit it's neck.
She lapped at it's blood for a while but had a dissatisfied look on her face
and said "it's fine".
"No" I told her "tell me if this is what you were describing to me or not".
She replied "not".
I asked if the creature being sentient played a big part of the "food"
She thought about it for a few seconds and decided that that must be part
of the need. She smiled as she got back into the saddle. I had to think on
this for a second. Then I got a flash. What if I found something that was
sentient and wanted to be eaten. That this was it's whole reason for
existence. No guilt for anybody getting eaten, no worry about her taking
out somebody because she was hungry. No need to kill her before she had
out lived her usefulness. And if Jacob was given command of the Helgram
front, Somebody he could relate to. Who knows what powers she got from
her elder Yohannes, Maybe she could Jacob a run for his money. Enough of
that, we were off to find some cattle that were begging to be eaten.
It took awhile, but I was soon able to find a shadow that was almost Village
like, but they were masters of genetic manipulation. Shadow Rateotu was
yet another eye opener for Kirsten. I was able to make a deal for 150
sentient-talking bovines. Kirsten said that they would meet her basic needs
and we headed back to Castle Yohannes with the herd in tow.
On the way back I had an interesting thought about the Gryphons and the
Helgrams. Neither one knew what the other was up to, except for what the
Basilisks were feeding them. I needed to start some strife between them.
I could haul a pack of the werewolves from the shadow next door to Tir
Tarngir. The Helgrams may or may not know that the Gryphons had taken
Tir Tarngir. Hauling the pack would set up a slight shadow path. With some
tweeking a little bit later it would be a full fledged Patterny shadow path.
Would the Helgrams follow it, and what would they do to the Gryphons when
they got to other end....
When I got back to Castle Yohannes I got everything there squared away
and headed off to set this new plan in motion. It was hard work using most
of my skill, but in the end I was able to have a pack of the Werewolves
follow me to Tir Tarngir. Man am I tired, time to go back to Amber to
In Amber there was much rejoicing. Several Gryphons were captured and
awaiting questioning in the dungeon. Tori was busy with the Logrus master
that they had captured leaving the "Normal" one for me. We bantered back
and forth. He knew that I was the "good cop" so things went pleasantly.
When the drugs were just about to drag him under I tried Tori's trick that
she had used unsuccessfully on Lirazel. I made contact with his mind and
plunged inside. It was a weird feeling, so it took awhile to get everything
focused. He was starting to close off his mind so I went after the info
nobody in the family had; Who were Flora's children.
For the most part they seemed to be inexact copies of us. Kamorra was
Fineas', Tharin were Jacob's , Illeane and Sabaton was Diego's, Vaila was
the Brat's, and Marcus was mine. It get there physical and mental images
and the Nexi back from Tir Tarngir. Now time for sleep...
Thanks for the idea Mike.
Since the passing of King Oberon, and the enlightened rule of the Regent Gerard, the Information media in Amber has enjoyed a greater freedom then it has in the past. Current "unspoken" rules are that everything and everyone is fare game except the Regent, his Daughter and Queen Moira (libel and Slander excepted).
Amber has some elements of Renaissance Italy and mid-19th century Europe (printing presses). Since there is no real mass media in Amber News and information is generally conveyed via numerous Newspapers except for items that can't wait for printing.
Also, as Prince Fineas has found out, there are several press/publicity agents to convey the points of view, or announcements of those who can afford such services.
The news media in Amber is broken up between various news/print agencies and the Town crier services.
The Town Criers are the City's CNN, Radio and Emergency Alert system.
The Town Crier's
The Royal Criers:
This is the Royal information service. They provide the quickest means of getting information to the city. They are strictly in service to the Crown. They are a combination of an emergency alert and general announcement service.
NPC: Kenton Newth is the Captain of the Criers (think Tim Roth)
Address: THe Castle of Amber
A for hire organization. If you need to get the word out quickly, John's your man.
NPC: John Mattesoln (think John Goodman)
Address: #23 Plac d'Oberon
A for hire organization used exclusively by the purveyors of the Street of Silks to announce coming attractions.
NPC: Roman Holloday (think Tim Curry)
Address: #4 Rue des Bella de Nuir
La Cita - Daily, A conservative Broadsheet. Concerned with the Business of Amber and the Golden circle Kingdoms. Very influential.
NPC: Editor Pym Fortune (think Hearst)
NPC: Owner Elsia Chantris
Address: #13 Grand Promenade sud
Le Progres - Weekly, Tabloid. Concerned with the goings on and gossip of the Street of Silks. A big seller.
NPC: Editor Burt Ochsner (think Hugh Heffner)
Address: #22 Rue des Bella de Nuir
The Times - Daily, Broadsheet. The end all be all of what is fit to print in Amber. A must read for anybody who is somebody. The year-end Nobility "List" is a must read for the movers and shakers in Amber. Very influential.
NPC: Editor Tavin Lister (think Pulitzer)
NPC Owner Iliza Feldane
Address: #2 Grand Promenade Nord
The Harold Unicorn - Daily, Tabloid. Sharmen is famous for bringing the Page three girl to Amber. The Harold is blanketed in scandal (as are it's papers subjects). Anything that has a hint of naughtyness (and can be confirmed) is in this rag.
NPC: Editor Sharmen Niemi
Address: #17 Rue de la Suif
Shadowword - Weekly, Tabloid. Patrice has a sharp tongue and a sharper pen. Nobody wants to end up being exposed in this papers pages.
NPC: Editor Patrice Chalune
NPC: Star Reporter Holly Shotz
NPC: Owner Adriana Miramon
Address: #42 Rue Obscure
Amber'zine - Weekly, Tabloid. This paper claims to be a weekly, but sometimes it has been known to publish several times in a week, and then be inactive for several months in a row. It publishes short stories and poetry written by Amber's Nobility and upper-classes.
NPC: Editor Ricka Sembeck (think Dorothy Parker)
NPC: Owner Margali Bayle
Address: #3 Rue de la Fere
The Shipping News - Weekly, Broadsheet. This paper is concerned about the Docks, shipping companies, trading houses, Shadow paths, the comings and goings of ships in Amber, and their Cargo.
NPC: Editor Niles Quoyle
Address: #47 Rue des Halles
O Povo - Monthly, Tabloid. Competitor of the Herald Unicorn. At times it tries to out do it in gossip and scandal, other times for great journalism.
NPC: Editor Ant Zuniga
Address: #34 Plac d'Or
Gazeta Mercantil - Weekly, Tabloid. A high end combination of the Shipping News and La Cita. Some claim that it is trying to be too much for too many people.
NPC: Editor Plac Herrara
Address: #23 Rue de Kolver
Die Tageszeitung - Daily, Broadsheet. The Liberal viewpoint in Amber.
NPC: Editor Dieter Kreager
NPC: Owner Kedric Kandive
NPC: Reporter and Op/ED Editor Valeri Valerinov Kasynovich
Address: #3 Rue de la Suif
Royal Way - Monthly, Tabloid. This paper was about to fold, but with the arrival of the new Royal's, and the rescue of it's (almost) perpetual cover girl Princess Flora, it's readership has increased ten fold. The Current issue covers Prince Fineas capture of the Chaosian spy, Prince Diego (who is he, and what is Mojo?), and Was Lady Gwyneth really a spy?
NPC: Editor Embeth Wodehouse (think Jackie Collins)
NPC: Reporter Nellie Amour
Address: #5 Rue de Kolver
The Amber Enterprise - Monthly, Tabloid. The propaganda organ of the Amber Enterprise Institute. Very influential amongst the Business and Noble Classes. Also, fairly popular with the high ranking Military General Staff.
NPC: Editors Tavin Lister Niles Quoyle, Pym Fortune, and Plac Herrara
#23 Rue de Kolver
Printed by Wing Printing
Warhauls - The biggest and the best.
NPC: Owner Drew Warhaul
The Press Gang, LLP - The Latest entry into the high stakes publicity biz in Amber.
NPC: Owner Atiba LaBrie
Special Request, LLC - A newly founded Publicity agency. Very aggressive marketing.
NPC: Owner Joey Pelosi
NPC: McKimmon Stewart
Williams-Morris, LLP- A well established service that has been doing big business of late
NPC: Owner William Williams (Fineas' Agent)
A print Above - This shop will take care of anything from wedding
announcements to political pamphlets...for a fee of course.
NPC: Owner Gordon Green
Wing Printing - A Family owned printing shop. More interested in bulk
orders from prominent members of Amber society.
NPC: Owner Logan Wing IV
Der Spiel - A small time print shop looking to make it in to the big time.
Claims to have the latest in printing technology.
NPC: Owner Eugen Schwartz
the divine exchange is a popular and extensive market for mobile merchants run by a religion . In recent years it has had to extend beyond it's circular enclosure, especially on major holy days
Midkemia is a religion that values the exchange aspect of commerce. their creation mythology involves man being created as an exchange between divine forces. Greed is discouraged because more exchanges occur when both sides have different yet
equal amounts of value. the provisions against usury are only slightly less strict then early christianity, and the value of items is tracked by a series of adaptable sacred formulas using effort, and utility. the priests post ethical prices outside the temple ceremonially on a weekly basis. promotion within the faith is based upon the number of transactions completed with out grievance by the cleric with some pyramid scheme aspects. the primary focus of the religion is on material exchange, and they grow uncomfortable with more abstract issues, and seldom intercede in those matters when one of their adherents is not involved. They tend to oppose slavery as an unbalancing force. because of their focus, they consider equal wealth, and homogenous economies as nearly mutually exclusive. they like to foster economic specialization. their temples are circular to symbolize a traded item returning to it's owner. in the center away from the cloisters is where they often hold open markets. these are popular because there is never an upfront fee, the church just takes a percentage in exchange for the use of the space, and handling any disputes. in any significant transaction with a follower of the religion, expect to observe some rituals. The church also acts to an extent as a business policing agency for it's faithful. many people prefer to do business with midkmia followers, because of this. periodically the are called upon to settle a disputes as an unbiased third party as part of the agreement they made when receiving a land grant in amber. They also have been used as negoiators in deals, and are very effect because they always tend to seek and honest, and sustainable relationship between all parties that generates the most exchanges. the religion is moderate, helpful, and aided amber in the past. They have been allowed limited land in amber proper to conduct their faith.
Since there’s a Street of Silk Veils, here are some thoughts on whoring in Amber City.
First, since there is very little disease in Amber, the hookers are not subject to more than the occasional, easily cured bout of some sort of VD.
Second, reliable contraception charms and enchantments are available at reasonable prices.
Third, Amber denizens are not old at 50; they’re old at 150. Their careers can last a long time. As a corollary, the level of expertise is very high among pros and amateurs alike.
Fourth, royals will occasionally become fond of a hooker. Royal guardsmen and crown agents do so frequently. Both cases are hell on abusive pimps or madams.
Fifth, Amber’s sexual mores are just a bit loose, reflecting the attitudes of the royals. There is less demand for prostitutes in general due to the many sexually active non-professionals.
One through four tend to balance out five. Hooking in Amber is far safer than elsewhere. Whores keep more of their money. It’s only really lucrative at the high end, so most lower-level hookers are hooking on the side, not full time.
Initial intel from the concubines:
Dai-shen and Tan-wu are from Tir Tarngir and were mid to low ranking courtiers in the Imperial Court before being given to Dantay.
The Kuromon Empire is like the structure of the British Empire with a Thai/Chinese culture. It dominates the planet. The Gryphons seem to have infiltrated it at the top and replaced the Emperor and some officials with doubles, enthralled others and subdued others with threats and bribes, two years ago. The Empire is mobilizing. There is an Imperial College of wizards. Aircraft are common. The army is being reformed into a much more effective weapon. The navy is being neglected save for logistical purposes. The Air Battalions are being improved. Estimated numbers: they don’t know but think it’s hundreds of thousands. Probably an overstatement.
Notable: 15 years ago the whole world was hit by the “Madness”. Everyone forgot or had several conflicting memories of who they were. Some couldn’t communicate at all. After days of this, the White Tiger, a god, appeared in the capitol and led the people into sanity, starting with the Emperor. The Tiger started a ritual dance that eventually spread worldwide, and things made sense again. There are some lingering effects; memories of events prior to the Madness are usually dim, fragmented and disturbing. But they have reams of history to tell them that their Tiger-reclaimed memories are correct.
Dawadire (dahwahdeeray) is from a tribal kingdom recently allied to Kuromon – seems the High King had a religious vision and was cured of an old wound. More or less: Tatars or less organized Mongols in Africa. Lots of good light cavalry. She was a present. She thinks there are 30 to 40 thousand cavalrymen total. Probably an overstatement.
Kyllikki (kewleekee) is from a Viking type of people called the Yowkainin, a noble captive given to the King’s new allies. She estimates the numbers of Youkainins available to the Gryphons at, maybe 15,000
Sorak, who has red (red) skin and almost no hair, but is otherwise human, is from an odd, cold sort of post Weird Science holocaust world where the Gryphons have helped the nonhuman barbarians conquer most of the civilized region in only two years. The barbarians, skraath, have become addicted to things the Gryphons supply and to living by conquest and plunder. She thinks there are millions of skraath. How many would fight for the Gryphons, she has no idea. She does think that the skraath will fight among themselves at the drop of a hat.
All five say Dantay likes pain. More precisely, he loves intensity of experience. Fortunately for them, hurting others (or at least harmless others) has long since ceased to have any intensity at all. They have no idea about Komarra’s sexual habits and are glad of it; she scared the hell out of them.
All five are survivor types, intelligent and adaptable. They’ve seen less adaptable sorts get killed or kill themselves. They are quite eager to please and looking for opportunities to better their lot.
a fraternal society that has held amberites among it’s
members. As a low -profile semi secret organization by
invitation only, krackenhouse provides a clubhouse
where members can indulge in conversation, enjoy the
libary or always animated discussion in the games
parlor. Perhaps the greatest benefit of membership is
the ability to use residences of members for
hospitality, or stay at one of the many hidden
locations along shadow paths. some shadow paths are
unknown to anyone outside club membership.
this gentleman’s adventurers society was known to
oberon , who was content to let it be as long as an
amberite or two were included in the membership. since
the patternfall war the group has maintained a low
profile, and it is unclear if the current leadership
has little if any idea of the club’s existance.
the club has become increasingly hedonistic over the
past century as the extreme braggicio, swagger, and
machismo of the games parlor has taken over more and
more of the club. The club has come into funds to
expand it’s endeavors, and cover it’s tracks by
publishing “the illustrated guide to the lucious
ladies of the golden circle, and more”. a sporadically
published book that details local customs, “locations
of interest for the gentleman traveller”, and in some
cases, alarmingly specific reccomendations. The tome
is published anonymsly, and several years ago the tome
drew some criticism for it’s rather acidicly etched
article “how to satisfy a rebman female”.
periodically they hold wild members only parties in
the symbol of membership is a sextant necklace or
noted personalities include
a swarthy merchant specializing in luxury items from
all across shadow, charming and generous with gifts,
but seldom charity
a free agent ship captain with a unique talent for
hiding cargo, including many special guests for the
groups society parties. good with knives.
There’s times when you don’t even have to shoot a person to get them to do what you’d like.
The first day I got into town, twelve of the local gang had died.
It hadn’t all been me. Once I set on my path and the locals got the idea that I wasn’t the sort to be easily gunned down on the street, they got a bit of gumption and helped out. On their own they probably wouldn’t have been able to begin, but I’m good for a few things and a kick-start is one of them. It was a big day for them, followed by a night of celebrations, but it came clear the next morning that things had gone to their head.
"We’re gonta gi’ up after the lot of em and put em all down, sir... that’s the plan."
I watched the town’s spokesman smile. Too eager. His rheumy eyes were bright and his lips half-parted in anticipation, a dark toothless gash in his yellowed-grey beard. I knew what we’d done the day before, and I knew the warlord that the group of toughs had represented. Beatin’ one was a damn sight different than beatin’ the other. I shook my head.
"Nothin’ like it, grandad. You’ve got what you fought for, so take it and make some use of it. The fight’s mine past this point, and it’ll take time."
"You’rn? We’ve suffered powerful at the hands a’ those we kilt!"
I nodded, then jerked my chin at the row of pine boxes learning against the barn across the street. "You’ve had your payment of those that wronged you. Keep the fight going and you’ll fare worse than you did before.
"But we can... us’n you can --"
"You do what you like." I finished my drink and stood. "I’ll be gone."
He pulled up short and gave me a beady eye. "Whyssat? You pullin’ out on us?" He squinted. "You afeared a’ these?"
Time was when I’d have killed a man for saying such things, but even back then all I heard was ignorance. "You do what you like, old man." I said as I started walking. "I’ll be gone."
They’d left it be and lived their lives. When the time was right, me and mine took care of the warlord.
And I hadn’t even had to shoot the old man.
It never occurred to me that such lessons would be much use to me in my new arrangement but people tend to surprise you. It never seems to matter how much power a man has -- a bit more than he’s used to can still get him drunk.
We’d snuck into Tir’s outpost to gather up a hostage for questioning -- mix in a little too much enthusiasm and suddenly we’ve decided to take the city by force. It worked out alright but it came clear that the best thing to do was pull out post haste. Everyone agreed, then one overexcited voice with a taste for new power and suddenly we were going to try to hold out.
To hear it told by others, the idea was a fighting withdrawal. To hear it told by Diego, we’d have three thousand more troops coming into the city before any started to leave. Didn’t sound like a withdrawal; sounded like a good way for a little bit of enthusiasm to turn a retreat into an attack, putting us square in the middle of a fight we’d all decided we didn’t want. Maybe I was being pessimistic, or maybe I was just going by what had already happened twice.
I could have stayed and argued it out. It was a decent plan. It stood a chance of doing a lot of damage -- just enough to make a person think "maybe we can win this."
And it hinged on four thousand of my troops.
So I pulled them out and left the fight to others. Without me, they’d do fine -- probably kill a few of the enemy leaders, which is all they had cause to hope for in any case -- without me and mine, they’d have to play it careful and they’d have to be realistic. Which is all that I wanted and I didn’t have to fight about it.
Didn’t even have to kill anybody. I’ve had my fill of blood for awhile, so it felt good to do something without it.
After moving my troops out (and I need to remember to take the lot of them down to Carnival), I hied off to Amber and had a few words with Gerard. The last time we spoke he let me know I could either take some time off to relax or take some time off to let one of my legs heal. I got the point. I had my mind set to roust around in Texorami, where I’d first met my father (before I knew he was that) and a place he’d used as a stomping ground on more than a few occasions before and since. I got permission to dig through dad’s personals and did exactly that for the next few hours. Things outside the storage room were busy -- I gathered from what was shouted back and forth that most of my kin would be involved in the retreat from Tir. I wished them well and made sure that Rivan was on his toes and ready to shout for aid if Tori needed it.
After digging through and finding only a stack of IOU’s for and from friends of Dad’s back in Texorami and a picture of him and me that I don’t remember being taken, I went to Arden, made arrangements for my horses, and set out for one of the few places of stability from my early days.
Texorami was pretty much as I remembered it, except that I was sober -- I let out some rooms and set out taking care of that problem while I sent runners to reserve a boat for me and contact a few of the names on the IOU’s. Once the afternoon heat had worn down a bit, I set out to acquire the things listed in the "owed" column and went to meet the harbor master, the first fellah on the list.
Things went about as I’d intended. He knew most of the men I had names for and said he’d take care of calling them together. I gave him a few days to handle it and went down to the boat that was waiting in my name. I spent the night aboard before sailing out in the morning.
It’s never been in my habit to sail to a place where I could just as well ride, but recent events had made me reevaluate my habits. It didn’t pay to be unprepared. I worked on steering the thing about and handling rigging, Zariel worked on pushing the whole thing -- I think that by the end of the day we were both fairly tired. I dropped anchor in a deep cove and did some free diving (something else I felt I was maybe a bit on the weak side of), then made myself a meal and watched the waves for awhile, thinking about Amber’s allies and enemies and who really deserved to be in which column. I kept my weapons to hand just in case I got a call from Tir, but no call came and I took that as a good sign since I didn’t feel like thinking about the ways things could have gone wrong.
While the sun sank, Zariel and I went down to the cove’s beach and worked on a few things that I’d had in mind for him lately. It’ll take some time, but worthwhile things usually do.
I didn’t get a full night’s sleep, as a few local thugs someone had hired to find out about my ‘wind machine’ stole aboard in the wee hours. I sent them off with a message for their boss and crawled back into my bunk about a half-hour later and realized a few minutes later that I was smiling -- sometimes simple problems can be a blessing. The next morning we headed back towards town using the normal winds.
Texorami’s a good place for winds -- Zariel was healing up fairly well.
That evening was my meeting with Dad’s old friends, which went better and worse than I’d hoped. They’d gotten old, these wildcats of his, and turned in early for the night. I was still restless though, and through one of the least-reputable of Dad’s disreputables, I found out where a man could wage a battle or two without too many people getting hurt.
Texorami’s also a good place for finding a fight.
I worked out a little tension in the bare-knuckle ring and ran into a fellow that interested me for reasons that had nothing to do with my vacation -- tough, strong, and quick enough to get my attention before I put him down. I bought him a drink afterwards and we agreed to meet up in the morning for a talk.
Santi turned out to be a bar owner in town with a good head on his shoulders. I let him know that I was looking for someone to toughen up a small group of men I had working for me and he seemed amenable provided the price was right -- I made sure it was. He claimed to be no kind of soldier, but I asked about his home and the nature of his upbringing and got a good idea of the place, making plans to suss the place out for troops.
It seems that by my nature I’ll never have a long vacation.
We all set out the next morning for a ride I intended to end by finding more troops. After some consideration, I found a likely group of tribal folk lost in snow-filled mountains who were more than willing enough to hear what I had to say. I liked the warrior’s nature and demeanor and their shaman seemed a sharp sort, but to get a few hundred men I had to bring along their entire tribe -- I’d not have had it any other way, but it meant I’d need several tribes to get a useful number of warriors. Also, I found that I wanted to be doing the right thing by them -- no more stories to trick the hapless -- they’d know what I was taking them out of and leading them into. After all that, I figured I still had a good idea.
I sent the tribe ahead to a place I knew in Arden and called Billy-bo in the Arden camp, telling him to leave off on my first plans for the horses I’d taken from the Persians -- I had a new use for them.
Sometimes a man has to sit still for awhile to move forward.
Chaosian expendible troops. Think 80% human and 20% chimpanzee, with human facial hair placement and bushier fur than a chimp. About 50% stronger than men of the same size and build. Not too bright. Obedient. Known to eat sentients.
Diego's expendible and delicious sentient but not too bright crab-man troops. Fast breeding and short lived.
Diego has a large collection of monsters out of Shadow, monsters created in his lab and mixes of the two in the waters around his home island.
A race of amphibious, sapient frogmen, some of whom are working for Prince Diego. They are experts at earth-moving magicks and capable of deep, scanning sonar.
Elder Kindred, Elderkin
The pre-Chaosite spawn of the Serpent. The Unicorn, her brother the Cat and Helel are Elderkin.
Elemental spirits are nearly ubiquitous in Shadow, though their numbers and dominant types vary greatly. Most elementals start as ghosts of humans, other sapients or animals. They tend to be flighty and few are very powerful.
Grizzly-sized, tribal werewolves who dominate most of Shadow Inferno. Many (most?) are controlled by Helgrams now.
Genii Loci/Shadow Gods
Spirits, usually human, bound to and in control of Shadow Power Sources. Some are quite powerful. None can leave their Source shadow. Many have cults, priests, etc. Examples: Bel of Belken, the Power of Fangorn, the Bright Lady of Dom-Daniel.
The non-human, dominant minority of Shadow Ghenesh. Shapeshifters, sorcerers and blood drinkers who draw power from the Moon. Any moon. Tanitheel is one, a refugee. Oberon sealed Ghenesh off two centuries ago.
Great Beasts/Great Old Ones
The more dangerous of things from the Abyss. Generally malevolent from a Chaosian or Amberite perspective.
Big semi-humanoid, winged, scaly, fanged, clawed, 400 - 600lb creatures from Chaos. Horribly strong -- as strong or stronger than most Amberites. Naturally vulnerable to a class of loyalty spell.
Chaosian attack beasts. Range from the size of big crows to twice as big as eagles. Very agile flyers, flock predators. Smarter than normal birds, able to communicate some air recon info.
The favorite breed of the Amber Royals, found or bred by Benedict originally. There are usually a dozen at the Castle and a herd off in Shadow Lynxia. They have great stamina and resistance to the mental demands of hellriding, as well as unusual strength and health.
Genetically engineered cattle, sapient but eager to be eaten, optimized for fast, tasty growth. Able to talk. 13 acquired a small herd for the vampire Kirsten's use, since dumb-animal blood lacks something important.
Pony-sized, sapient 'insect-centaurs' in the service of the invading Hendrakes.
1) Humans enspelled to be semi-mindless slaves via necromancy. They usually don't live longer than a year. The Hendrakes are fond of thrall troops.
2) Men enchanted/chemically enthralled by hellmaids. Extremely loyal but not too bright. Used as bodyguards, sex toys and blood banks.
There are lots of kinds of vampires. Most share some qualities with weres. Those of Shadow Limbo, where Helgrams are making inroads, are unusualy powerful.
Vampiric werewolves of Shadow Limbo.
So far we've seen lots of werewolves, a couple of wereleopards, some wereswans. All are well in control of themselves. There are strains of werebeasts that are ravening monsters but such are treated as vermin. The werewolves of Shadow Inferno (garoux) are far more powerful than the norm. The Weir, of Shadow Weirmonken, are werewolf aristocrat initiates of a peculiar Shadow Power Source.
Corpses animated by necromantic spells with ghosts.
Toriana is in the castle trying to put together the information given to her throughout the last few hours. Gerard trumps her and asks her to come talk to him and Flora (Secret Stuff Happens).
Jacob trumps Kelamon and asks for a gate in 5 hours time. She asks where he wants it and Jacob shows him. He then trumps Gerard and tries to find out if his dad had a journal. Gerard isn’t sure, but he does tell Jacob that Flora isn’t as mad as he thinks. Jacob fails to believe it. Jacob begins to ransack the storage area for Random’s things. Jacob goes to the ranger station and checks in on his horses and asks a captain to look into a breeding program for the horses. He leaves a letter to be delivered to Gerard next time he is alone.
Diego makes a vague insult about Jacob and Fineas informs him that he needs a couple hours to prepare if Diego wants him to be effective. He then trumps Thirteen and asks him for help. Thirteen lets him know that he cannot be available for him right now. Diego then tries to trump Toriana but she is not answering right now. He then goes to call the concubines for assistance, and he gives them a trunk full of gifts he had for Moire.
[Insert more accurate-but-dismissive comments about Flora here.]
Morwyn and Diego discuss the tactics of defending the castle.
Fineas gets a trump from Sir John. They talk about the Gryphon prisoner and keeping him from using logrus. They discuss the possibilities in regards to the prisoner. They discuss ammunitions for the coming battle for Tir. Fineas asks him to speak to Toriana about help with the prisioner and how to hold him or make him forget he knows how to use logrus.
Thirteen questions the concubines and then goes to talk to Gerard about Sabine, and he gives the family tree to Gerard. They discuss the Tir problem and Gerard recommends that Sabine get some rest. Thirteen talks to the vampire about what she gets out of the feeding. He then goes to find some non sentient blood generating creatures for his pet vampire. He brings a herd of 150 cows.
Toriana trumps Diego to return his call and he asks for a teleport blocking spell when she can manage it. She goes to see Kelamon and gets a few more coins. Toriana then attempts to trump Jacob. She goes through to him and gives him a couple coins. She tries to talk to him about what happened and Flora’s reactions at this point. Sir John finds her and asks her to come help with the prisoner and to ask Dara and Larizel how to contain a pattern user.
Jacob goes through the IOU’s. He visits one of the people on the list; the harbormaster and him share a drink. Jacob and Zariel go sailing and Jacob does some diving just holding his breath. He spends the night off the coast. In the middle of the night there are a couple of thugs one comes down the stairs and Jacob kicks him to the top of the stairs. He goes to the offenders boat and lets them know this is not the boat they are looking for. He asks Zariel not to let him have any more visitors that night. He clears up the rest of the IOU’s that belonged to his dad. Jacob finds the proper bar to get in a fight with. He doesn’t kill anyone.
Diego goes drinking with his sister. He gives her the full report. They discuss the plan and she offers to be in a light trump contact to offer assistance. He offers her diagrams to the slippery maiden. They talk about trying to rescue their dad. Diego tries to guilt Moirwyn into going to his coronation.
Fineas trumps Thirteen and he takes it. Fineas requests Thirteen to make some ammo for him for the upcoming fight. He requests the ammo work in the Tir. He would also like some sneaky stuff done on his armor if he can manage it. Thirteen assigns Badger to work on the suit.
Gerard is taking Sabine, Thirteen, and Fineas to have Sabine walk the broken pattern. She is able to walk it successfully. Gerard them trumps them all back. Thirteen goes with Badger to the Tir. Fineas goes to work more on the rifle and ammo. He has a priest of the unicorn bless the sniper rifle. Fineas trumps Reynaldo to go back to the Tir. Fineas asks Reynaldo to do some illusions so that a scout would think that the Remens are still here. Reynaldo asks if he should maybe walk the pattern before the battle.
Badger and Thirteen get to the Tir and they try and stealthily stealth the suit. They get started on the bullets for Fineas and Thirteen offers up his blood for the bullets. He makes sure he gets out before the battle is under way. Thirteen is going to out looking for troops. He is specifically looking for some Swiss army troops to rescue. Thirteen is looking for about 1000 troops. He finds them and takes them back to the Helgram zone.
Toriana goes up to Tir and starts to reinforce the teleport barrier. She sees the ships start to form in the sky and trumps Diego. Toriana calls Fineas to let him know the attack is going to be forth coming. He says he already knows. After reinforcing the blocks Toriana begins to play with the weather and adversely affect the trumps. She then trumps Flora’s living kid and asks him to leave. She then goes back and tries to reinforce the wards.
Diego asks Fineas to request Dara’s help with the fight. Fineas gets her to agree to help and she would like a rifle and they ask Gerard for it. Diego’s part of the ward starts to go down. He can feel the teleport goes up and he can feel it.
Fineas is taking his time and trying to get a shot and tries to figure out where they are coming from.
Diego is trying to trump Flora. She declines to be involved.
Jacob has breakfast with his new friend and recruit. They briefly discuss their histories and what is coming forth in the future. They negotiate a contract for employment. Jacob thinks about more troop recruitment.
Diego is using pattern to battle the tendrils. He gets slightly hit by a logrus tendril. Dara seems to have come through and so have the hell maids. Fineas finally sees a black tendril and eventually he gets a shot at the guy but he has to use probability and it gets the user’s attention. Fineas shoots him again this time in the stomach and sees the flames and shoots again to be sure.
The logrus master and pattern user attacking Toriana’s section break off and come closer into the city to attack her barriers. Fineas is off to a new area because he is sure from the arrows he had given up his position with the pattern use.
Diego has to use pattern defense and jump on a tendril. It causes him a little pain. He is working on the zepplins and trying to shoot them down with arrows. Fineas is able to take out the logrus user attacking Toriana’s shields. She throws a fireball at the pattern user and they stop the fight. Toriana finds one of the Choas lords who is not using logrus and tries to link to him. He is able to resist and she pulls out a coin and tries it again and she now has him. Her guards and Hienrich are able to fight through to the Chaos lord and are able to injure him and he is kneecapped.
Diego puts up a fight while the trump gate comes up and they fight their way off. Dara lost 3 hellmaids Toriana brings the new prisioner to the castle. Everyone congratulates everyone else on a job well done. Fineas makes a point of sucking up to Dara to appreciate her efforts.
Thirteen is going on a supply run because of the entourage he is now leading around. Thirteen tries to get his army up to speed by having them learn with the ranger group. He is working his way up to a commando raid on the vampires. There is some resistance from the men on following women’s orders.
Thirteen enchantes some horses with more stamina to get where he needs to be. He dumps Volkswagen sized werewolves into the desert area close to the Tir city.
Toriana goes down to visit the prisoners. The new guy is Curon. Moire trumps Toriana when she is searching through the prisoners mind. Moire tells her that the forgetting of the logrus can be done with the jewel. After the conversation Toriana trumps Gerard and fill him in. Moire will accept Toriana’s report on what information they get from the spy. Gerard is going to get the jewel and have Toriana attempt to use it on the Chaosian.
Jacob is going after a Native American tribe troop. He comes to them when they are in a winter that they were not well supplied for. He is able to get them to listen to him. He is going to send them by Arden forest. There are rangers there that are similar to this race. Jacob trumps Griv. He inquires about the rebellion. Jacob asks for a summary on what is going on with the war in Chaos with Amber.
Diego continues to see to the wounded. He has told Gerard of the deal he made with Moire about equal access to any captured Chaos lords. Diego experiments with regenerating other people. Diego is very hungry and eats like he hasn’t had food in days. He has some contact with Gwynith.
Diego tries the regeneration on Gwynith first. She is not given a choice in the matter. He goes to look for an apartment in Dom Daniel. He is going to purchase the hotel that used to house Auntie’s apartment.
Fineas is going off in shadow looking for a merchant who sells little medals. He gets 25 of them and gathers all the survivors in Arden. He promotes them and strokes their egos. Fineas goes back to Amber to choose an estate outside the castle for himself. He goes by the Bale Vineyards to look. He finds a place and takes the brownies there and puts them to work.
Thirteen is down with Curon for his first questioning. He dopes him up and starts the questioning. The prisoner accuses them of attacking first and calls Swayville an old man. They had seven members of the family – Flora’s kids. Thirteen asks for the names of Flora’s kids Illeane, Marcus, Vaila, Sabaton, Komorra, and Tharin. He asks about their abilities – Illeane is a good warrior. Marcus is cleaver, Vaila is very beautiful. Tharin is a good fighter. Sabaton is an excellent diplomat. Thirteen inquires about there whereabouts.
Curon passes out and Thirteen is able to get a mental contact and extract the images of what Flora’s kids look like. Illeane is a prick. Vaila is a ho, Marcus is a cleaver bastard, Tharin likes slaughter. Sabaton is dull but good at negotiations. He tries to find the nexus from the tir to their house and what is their next step.
There were originally a dozen chaos lords in Tir.
I've always intended that the number of points given out in spends should drop at some point. Gerard, Flora and the other elders and bad guys aren't built on huge numbers of points and it wouldn't make sense for your characters to hit their starting levels of power too fast.
So, barring threats of player mutiny, what I'd like to do is cut the free points out after spend # 7. That's when you'll hit about 240 points, 150% of your starting points. (Well, not 150% of Diego's, but you know what I mean.) After that, you'd be getting 6 per spend (diaries and log), or 7 if we're still doing the Fleshing Out Amber bit or something similar. For a comparison, Flora just hit that point this spend.
Hypothetically, the spend points should drop again once you hit 320, which is Gerard's neighborhood, at about Spend # 20, or Session 100. While the game is open ended, I wouldn't expect it to last that long.
Hey, put those pitchforks down, guys!
Dear professor Morwell,
I regret my hasty departure, and hope that you have found the hospitality of our island a worthy respite from the busy halls of the institute. I also hope you have found my work, on the use of anemone enzymes in the treatment of the criminally insane, useful in your own good work. I suspect it might be of use where I am now.
However my journey has not been in vain. I am proud to report I have a new therapy, that should enable your lovely daughter, Sally, to walk again. I cannot go into the details now, lest you think me confined to bedlam, or the yellow man's opium den.
I can say that the numerous allegations of my bastardy provided by the enemies of freedom have proven to be true, causing me to ask for your advice as a celebrated expert in the field of abnormal psychiatry.
(note: the following is edited yet far less inhibited version of the actual correspondence text )
I recently committed to a military action, I felt I had no choice to spite the odds. without going into too much detail, we needed to take out specialized troops or let their continued use erode the possibility of a greater victory ahead.
I had planned on using Jacob's insanity towards constructive ends, but a shocking stream of girlish whining sputtered out of his mouth. I can only surmise his vigor for combat extends largely to the defenseless. He even proposes making a deal with the enemy that raped a family member-I prescribe years of aggressive therapy.
Reese ran back to his hole like a pig needing of a truffle
Flora failed, in what I suspect, will be her last chance to redeem herself with me.
to spite having the manners of an ill-breed goat, Torriana really came through, and she does understand the value of family. I now suspect that, possibly once in her life, she even exhausted the patience of her simpleton father enough to get that slender portion of discipline, that she so desperately needed. She may now call upon my aid, and enjoy my custom. Dara proved herself to have at least a nominal trust worthiness coupled with considerable worth to spite her dubious heritage. she earned herself a party invitation. Fineas is a slightly more complex story. to spite his lackluster commitment of troops he is a major reason for our success, so he has earned a reprieve from being held accountable for his bogus definitions of effectiveness, and I stand in his debt. it is a debt I find myself eager to absolve.
As for the contributions of Rebma, my sister, and the lovely Queen Moire...
all these relationships seemed to have weathered typhoon Jacob, and are the stronger for the testing. I tested to see if they actually wanted a good relationship by informing my sister of my dissatisfaction about being used as a political pawn. The information seemed to transfer from daughter to mother quickly, and I strongly suspect it was behind Moire's ready cooperation with my plans. I also made it clear that I will not tolerate any thing that will come between my sister, and I . Today I can say that things look very bright underwater, as well as appealingly underdressed.
As to evaluating the battle
the ultimate effectiveness of our efforts will be seen in the months ahead, some accounts of the fatality ratio could go as high as 120 to 1 depending on how you count razor beaks. I lost a regrettable 100 warriors, a trivial amount of 600 clackers. they lost most of the initial wave of beastmen, some standard troops, and 3 or 4 leaders. we could have ruled the day with the help of those abscent, and the use of our available troops, but people seemed to have a misconception that it was not worth committing troops to hold a worthless resource, but the battle was about killing the enemy more then holding land. if i was concerned about holding the property I wouldn't have had my men urinate in areas of the palace we were not using to eliminate the beastmen's superior sense of smell. It was a victory in relation to the previous battle in terms of damaging the leadership. it was a medium victory in terms of overall results. It was highly mixed in comparison to what could have been. I cannot trust noblese oblige or righteousness to motivate my family into action. I must become invaluable to their endeavors, and they have little knowledge of how I will define that. If I can consolidate these early leads, I can hope to be wearing Duke Gryphon's guts for garters within a year.
The irony that I will be the primary instrument of vengence for a woman a have nothing but contempt for is not lost on me.
(now back to the actual text of the letter)
enclosed are documents that will enable you to take my personal plane to Cairo, there our man should arrange for your trip to London, then back New York. while in new york if you could please drop off the enclosed parcel to our offices, and deliver the adjoining letter to our respected colleague, Clark up on the 86th floor. then if you could return with the package he will give you, and your daughter to our island to begin her treatments promptly as possible.
your friend and fellow man of science-
july 3rd 1938
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
Today was a long but satisfying day. The Gryphons are even now combing through the damaged palace we left behind for them. I envision one of them finding the letter I left for Marcus of House Gryphon, reputedly one of the more clever of that brood and smile to myself. I suspect the enemy will be disappointed that so few of our forces were destroyed, especially when counted against the cost they paid to retake the place. As I soak in my bath before undertaking my next project, I find myself wondering what is going through the enemy’s mind. Is he angry, sad, relieved, all three? I thought back on what had transpired.
The day started like most other days recently. I was contacted early in the morning by one of my cousins, Diego in this case wanting my help. Thirteen and I had moved the entire library and there was nothing holding my interest to Tir Tarngir save the chance to slay a few Gryphons. Jacob, Diego and I had discussed the plan to defend the palace in some detail the night before. All of us realized there was no profit in holding the place for any length of time. Diego was adamant about making at least a symbolic fight of it, using the opportunity to weaken the chaosians as much as possible. Jacob was pretty convinced it was not the best way to use his troops and intended to withdraw the Remans as soon as possible. I agreed with both of them. I wanted to try and use a minimal defense to draw out a few of their Logrus wielders so I could take a whack at them. I did not want to risk losing the majority of the Remans, but since Diego was bringing in some of his own troops, I agreed to help him with his effort. Rinaldo also indicated a willingness to assist.
When morning came, Jacob made arrangements to have his troops trump gated back to their barracks in Hunac. Diego was not pleased to say the least but took it in stride. He brought in his motley group of personal guards and crab creatures and somehow managed to recruit Toriana for some magical assistance. At a minimum I wanted a few personal enchantments available to me, so I took temporary leave of Diego and returned to Amber to make preparations. I had intentions of going on a Gryphon hunt and I wanted suitable weapons and ammunition. I met briefly with Sir John and we discussed how to hold and interrogate Dante. He also briefed me on what was learned from the pleasure slaves that we had liberated. Their information was grim when it came to raw numbers. The enemy forces detailed were potentially quite huge and likely to get bigger. I was even more determined to put a dent in their effective power users, preferably the Logrus users. I harbored hopes of reasoning with their Pattern initiates and so resolved not to kill any until I had at least made an honest effort to recruit them.
Sir John agreed to approach Tori on my behalf to obtain some suitably enchanted bullets for the sniper rifle Sir John made available to me. Tori was not around but Thirteen was so I enlisted his aid along with that of Badger and Sabine. I explained what I was looking for and he seemed pleased to help. It was apparently a subject he had studied closely in the recent past and knew exactly what had to be done. We would need to perform most of the enchantments I wanted in the palace, but there was something that he needed to get done first. I was invited to come watch Sabine become an initiate of the Broken Pattern with assistance from the Regent and his Jewel of Judgement. How could I pass that up? I had heard of the jewel of course but had never seen it. This was an opportunity to study it close up, plus I genuinely liked Sabine and wished to assist her in any way I could. I joined them and took a brief journey to a strange monastery where it was to be done. The resident monks were less than enthusiastic about allowing a mere woman to use their Pattern. Gerard’s glower silenced any criticism. For a moment I thought perhaps Gerard would allow us to attune to the Jewel, but he did not make the offer and I did not press.
Sabine succeeded aided by our Jewel and a judicious amount of probability control. She was very happy, but somewhat tired. We gave her a couple of hours to rest before returning to work on my enchantments. In the intervening time, I took my new rifle “Charlene” to a unicorn shrine to be blessed. Hey, you never know! It did not take long, and I sensed some sort of beneficial effect when it was done. Something to ponder. I rejoined Thirteen and company in Tir and asked them for help in strengthening the palace wards, adding teleport blocks and altering the interior to inhibit the enemy from waltzing in past our defenses. Badger seemed very interested in some of the techniques Thirteen was using and enthusiastically added his expertise on my sniper suit once we returned to Tir Tarngir. Once there, we were joined by Rinaldo who had been busy on defenses while I was gone. He and I discussed the battle and I was made to remember he had not taken the Pattern yet. Damn! I advised him to seek Gerard and get it over with ASAP. He would be hard pressed to recover before the battle, but I had hopes he could get back before the Gryphons made their move. In the event, it was not to be.
When Thirteen was finished, he gathered his aids and bid us adieu. He was off to the Helgram offensive to raise some hell. I wished him luck and began final preparations for my mission. I composed a brief letter addressed to Marcus offering he and his fellow Pattern users sanctuary from the pogrom Swayvill was certain to launch against them sooner or later. I explained the demise of Komorra, making subtle reference to the fact that just one of us was able to take her out. Let him think about that, even if it is not precisely true. I made no mention of Dante. I tried to sound reasonable and respectful of his house without seeming intimidated. I sealed the letter, placed it where it would certainly be found after the battle and headed off to establish my position in the sewers. The enemy was by now beginning their attack.
Toriana arrived just in time to begin actively defending us. Rinaldo was still recovering in Lynxia but had successfully taken the Pattern and made his oaths to Amber. Diego took overall command and began issuing his orders. He quickly asked me to contact Dara for help, so I did so. She actually answered me this time and was prepared. She requested a rifle with ammunition. I deferred to Gerard, but recommended she be allowed such. He agreed and she soon trumped in with twenty of her hellmaids to help Diego. I took up my position in the sewer, looking out through various grates to try and get a shot at a Gryphon lord.
The battle was different than most I had seen. The enemy wisely began trashing the wards with Logrus from some distance, only sending troops in after Tori and Diego were tied up with fending off the tendrils. They quickly began to penetrate the defenses of the outer towers. Through my sight, I had a clear shot at one of their more martially inclined leaders for a moment but I let it pass. I was after bigger fish and waited for sometime for a better target. It was apparent that a lot of carnage was taking place inside the palace. Eventually a Logrus master made an appearance, dashing across one of the bridges between towers in the midst of a gaggle of bodyguards. They were in my way of a clear shot, so I twisted probability to make a couple trip and fall, clearing my shot. He sensed my power use quickly and turned to face me. Before he could send his tendrils after me, I squeezed off a shot and hit the breastbone area. He fell in a gout of flame but was still moving. I worked the bolt and shot him again. Another hit. His troops grabbed him and began dragging him to safety but I punched a couple more rounds into him, one right through one of his guards. At least three hits in the torso and probably another, all with enchanted exploding silver rounds. I counted him as dead.
I figured it would be wise to shift position, so I moved as quickly as I could without exposing myself to an area with a view to where most of the action was taking place. When I got positioned, I could view a tower with a Logrus master and one of their Pattern initiates obviously inside. I got a couple of good glimpes at the Pattern user, but the Logrus master was in better cover. I resolved to be patient and wait for the Logrus master to present a target. It took a while, but I eventually got a shot at him. I wanted an instant kill this time so I aimed for his head when he finally showed himself. When I squeezed off the round, his head fairly expoded, burning furiously as he dropped. That was a kill for sure. The beastmen around his tower charged the area I was in looking for me. It was time to make good my escape, so I pulled out my trump of Arden and left.
I was only in Arden for a few minutes when Tori trumped me. She said she had another prisoner to bring back if I could help grab him. I did so and we began the final withdrawal from the palace in good order. Dara had killed one Gryphon Lord and was carrying his head as a trophy. Tori had captured one, I had killed at least one and probably two. Not a bad outing for the loss of seventy five of my expendables, three hellmaids and about twenty to thirty percent of Diego’s human troops. His crab-boys covered our escape and I am sure they paid the price. I gave my congratulations to all involved and made my way back to Arden.
I cleaned up a bit, gathered my surviving men and assembled my forces for a brief ceremony honoring the fallen and rewarding the survivors. When it was done, I resolved to get a few personal things done and saw to the housing of my brownies and establishment of my household in an old Miramar estate house. I spoke at length with Flintwick, brownie extraordinaire. He was pleased with our arrangement, but wanted to tell me a bit about his old masters. I listened at length and have decided they bear investigating in the near future. For now, I needed to rest and enjoy my new estate. It was located in an area near the Bayle vineyards and suited me admirably. The coast is but a short walk away, lovely vineyards all around and a peaceful atmosphere. It needed a lot of modifications to accommodate my brownie servants so I gave a list of what I needed done to Liam and retired to soak in my new tub. And here I am, wondering what the morrow will bring.
Logrus masters can't hurt each other directly with Logrus tendrils. They can manipulate objects to attack with. Logrus tendrils can be used to interfere with other tendrils. So when keeping a Logrus initiate captive they drug them and have another L user nearby to wrestle the prisoner's tendrils if necessary, and to administer more drugs or pummelling.
It seems passing unlikely I'm going to get any rest if things continue in this vein.
So our alleged cousin lit out from the Gryphon's outpost by tumbling down through a cloud of mist and shifting through Shadow away from our slings and arrows. A right fine trick, but not one in which I'd envy her the landing.
Not that I'd need to envy her, since the general vote seemed to indicate that I should go after her. (The quiet concensus from several of them was, in fact, that she should come back in as small a bag as necessary, and although I hadn't considered that sort of thing as a possibility, I could see the point and made a resolution to see the thing through to it's end.)
I prepared quickly without hurrying and forgetting something and drew Zariel to my side to lessen the pain of landing if things didn't go well. Any smart person in this situation would have tried to find water to land in, or at least a pillow factory, but I didn't have that luxury -- I had to go whence fled the quary, which meant I had to rely on her good sense instead of mine.
Generally, I don't care for those sorts of situations.
I didn't have much to worry about in this case, although I landed in a cove a little too close to steep cliffs. The water was clear and I thought I could see where she was hiding herself away in the deeper part of the lagoon, using air elementals to generate a sort of cloud of bubbles. I pulled myself onto shore and behind cover, then had Zariel dry my guns while I considered the situation.
By nature, I don't care for water-bourne fights, and given my druthers it seemed I should just wait her out, but I didn't want her swimming out to see in the form of some furry dophin or some such, so I called on Morwyn who, being my cousin, a fair commander of men, and the only Rebman I had a trump of that could command the Tritons, seemed just the person for this sort of thing.
All I asked for was the use of a Triton or two, since they seemed fairly skilled in things martial, but the girl was in the midst of a court function and begged a reason to excuse herself. I had strong misgivings on the subject, but I had to have some sympathy on the subject -- in her shoes I'd have been looking for the same out.
Sympathy is not something that's ever served me particularly well, I should point out.
So the girl came through with two of her Tritons and I explained the situation clearly enough -- I wanted to let her think that the girl was part of the house that had done harm to "our aunt" and let her think Llewella, since that was more likely to get good-sized tears out of her, but she had the sense to ask, and I couldn't see the point in lying about it, so I let her know the girl was kin to Flora's captors.
That she was possibly Flora's kin, I did not mention. Thinking back on it, I don't believe it would have helped or hurt the situation any worse, either way.
The tritons, being in their element, made short work of the girl and drug her back onto the shore while Morwyn swam alongside, but as soon as my cousin got into the shallows, she pulled a trump and before I could say Beauregard, Flora was there in the water as well. To even things up now that Morwyn had suddenly made me outnumbered again, I called in Diego, whose shapeshifting I thought might be handy.
A smarter man woulld have changed routes at this point, but I don't lack for either foolishness or resolve, so I pulled my irons and told the Tritons to put the girl down on the sand, intending to conduct the trial and execution as planned, with only a few more unfortunate witnesses. So be it.
Morwyn had other plans (obviously, having already hung my own plans up to dry when she trumped in my thrice-damned aunt and possible mother-to-the-accused), but she really bought herself and me some complications when she stood up between me and the girl. In the next few seconds, I found I had a barrel pointed at the Crown Princess of Rebma and another at my Aunt, and I wasn't sure how the situation had gotten to that point.
I really need a rest.
Morwyn's eyes got cold at that point and I thought she was going to make a play, but she left with her men, for which I was powerful grateful.
I did my best to make the execution quick. Diego hied the body off somewhere. Flora watched the whole thing. That didn't bode well.
I got off back to Toriana and got a low-down on the situation... she's already managed to have a set-to with Rinaldo, so mark off another cousin she won't be calling on instead of me.
I got back to Fineas and explained the hyena-pack cluster-fuck that the mission had turned into. He talked about lying low, which I could understand, but frankly I wanted only to make sure that Gerard understood what I'd done before Flora got her hooks into him about the whole thing.
Somewhere in there I remembered that my aunt was a trump artist and the room got a little colder.
Toriana trumped me a bit later while I considered my words for Gerard, informing me that Moire was mightly overwrought at the way I'd handled her daughter and considered me uninvited from Rebma.
That's a bit like telling a fish he's not allowed to go snow-skiing, but I managed to look abashed. She offered to run interference with me with Gerard, and considering that the big man was her father, I thought having her around my save me a wrung neck, so I agreed.
We went to the Regent to talk. I don't recall most of what I said (although I do remember being much more impressed with Tori's way with words than I'd expected -- it seems the girl only wants a little motivation before she gets into her diplomatics), but in the end, I think I made two things clear to the commander: I was in this war because it was my family, not because of what I could get out of it, and I don't trust Flora farther than I can carry a tune.
In return, I learned that Gerard's a hell of a cynic about his kin's motivations, and that Moire is a manipulative, mind-reading whore with nothing in the way of good breeding but a fine tiara.
I think I might take a constitutional and get clear of my kin-folk for a day or two, since I've managed to make a long-time enemy of my aunt and get banished from Rebma all in a few minutes.
Gerard said I was taking after my father almost too well, but I didn't have time to ask him what he meant.
We decided that Jacob was best able to capture the Gryphon woman and sent
him on his way.
Well this whole battle must of been Toriana's idea. No one else could have
come up with a plan this incompetent. A success, but at a high cost. No info,
no intel, No nothing. Just kill, kill, kill.
As I made my way back down to the bottom of the tower, I ran into a fellow
that introduced him self as Rinaldo, Brother of Fineas. He claimed to know
nothing either, since Fineas had just pulled him through a trump contact just
a few minuets ago. I asked him where his brother was and he told me he was
down at the Gryphon Palace.
At the bottom I found Ivan and Boris collecting jewel encrusted sex toys. I
handed them some weapons and armor that I had found and bid them to follow
I confronted Fineas about the Cluster fuck, and he told me that none of this
was in the plan. The plan was to sneak in and capture on of the Gryphon's and
sneak back out. He wanted to question one of them before making a big
assault. Good man. But, he thought that either Jacob or the Brat came up
with another plan and that was how we got to where we were.
We decided to plunder the Palace for anything useful. I was looking for
anything that was patterneny or Magical and Fineas was looking for paperwork.
We found more paper than items.
We found that Jacobs troop had captured some of the Gryphons sex slaves.
I could see no use for them, But the Remen's refused to follow my orders. I
was this close to gutting the sergeant, but Fineas stepped in and hauled the
sex slaves back to Amber for Col. Sir Bors to question.
Ahhh, the Library. The Library of which all other libraries are but a mere
shadow. The operation to haul off this booty lasted for four days. The most
interesting find was a copy of a history that contained a family tree. there
were all sorts of names that #2 had not mentioned. The most interesting was
the line of Queen Morgana of Tir Tarngir (that must be where we are). We
were working our way through the book when Rinaldo stormed into the room.
He had had a run in with our dear sweet cousin Toriana and was still trying to
work off the head of steam that he had built up. After a few minutes Toriana
came in demanding to know who Rinaldo was and what we were doing. I told
her that we had taken a vote and that she was to be put in charge of Tir
Tarngir/Gryphon front. She glared at me. Fineas dropped the boom on her
about her attitude, personality and everything about her that was so
disagreeable. It was moment that brought a tear to my eye. Toriana turned
the same color as her hair and trumped out.
As I stated before, the Library took four days to move. I brought in Sabine
and Badger to help with the defenses of the castle (Kirsten was also brought
along). Diego showed up when things were almost finished and told us that he
had decided to defend the Castle from the Gryphons. Sounded like a suicide
mission to me. I had Sabine and Badger work on setting up the Castle wards
and make the defenses workable. When they were satisfied that everything
was in working order we headed back to Amber.
When we got back to Amber I worked on a few need to tasks and when I was
done with that I met with #2. The meeting went well, After some confusion
on #2's part he told me that he would check to see if Sabine was ready to
take the Broken pattern. We also Talked about Jorham and the Hellgram zone
and what my next task would be. This brought up the fact that there is a
severe stepping on of toes by the Princlings, and the we need to have a family
meeting to make some decisions as to what are focus should be on in the near
future. I brought up my views on the Tir Tarngir fiasco, and that Fineas' plan
should have worked if it was allowed to continue to its logical conclusion. He
thanked me for my input and I was dismissed.
Back to the salt mine.
-Diego to Jacob on Kammora body.
"I can cut her up and experiment on the Body"
We now have control of the castle and I scan it for powers. I have decided to shut down the power lines or etherlines as people seem to be calling them. It is a tricky thing and I cannot get it wrong or there will be dire consequences. I study it for some time before taking the first line down.
Shortly after I take the first line down some guy comes up and asks me what I am doing. Now this is not someone I know and just who does he think he is anyway, damn commoners. So I am nice and tell him what I am doing and he dares to question it. So I ask him who he is. Fineas’s brother well isn’t that just quaint. OH and do I think this is the best idea taking the lines down? Well yes or why would I be doing it? He is a pain in the ass and oh not signed on yet or so he says.
I continue to take down all three lines then scan again for magical or power use and I am led to the library where I find Fineas and Reese studying books while they kindly leave me to do all the work, ok to hell with this. How many relatives does it take to record information from one book? Fineas has returned to being a pain in the ass decides to tell me no one likes me and that I need an attitude change. He is right I need to get away from him and his brother and that will change my attitude. Have fun in the magically powered shadow with your advanced magical powers you jerks. I trump to the condo.
Jacob calls shortly later while I am in the middle of a nasty trump of Reynaldo and a sheep. He is in trouble and needs to come to where I am. He then trumps Fineas only giving me short explanation of what happened. He went after the girl who escaped and it may have been Flora’s daughter and he killed her in front of Flora. He also pulled a gun on Moirwynn.
Shortly after he has left Queen Moire calls to inform me that Jacob is not welcome in her city again. He has been banished. We talk about it and while I understand her anger she might not have the whole picture to work with. We talk about it and I explain to her my position on the situation and how she is placing blame on one person when in actuality there is enough blame to go around starting with Flora not telling the family about her children. I think she may do some more thinking on it. Eventually she may even let him back in her city. She gave me a trump of Flora’s other child and asked me not to hurry after my cousin to kill him. I agreed to her terms. I am so angry at Flora but holding my diplomatic face.
I trump Jacob to let him know what my conversation with Moire was and to find out what the hell he was thinking. We then went to the castle to talk to dad about the situation. He was all in defend Flora mode and I went into the only defense against that mode which is to make him realize that Flora had options and that her distrust of the family led us to the place we are oh and I mixed in a gentle sprinkle of guilt.
-Mike as Diego
(sigh) You know 200 years with out a Birthday card really hurts...
-Stan Piping in
....my daddy doesn't love me.....
But my Daddie Does!
I probe this new spot for sources of power, hot spots if you will. I find several interesting things. I make a sketch of the camp here. I also make a quick sketch of Diego. I sleep for the night while we have a place to camp.
Jacob and I travel forward to scout and he has me maintain a link with him and Diego. I do that and make sure no one is spying on us. We encounter a water elemental that is guarding a crate opening to the palace we have found. I help Jacob break the elemental free. He does the breaking while I make sure it is indictable. Jacob negotiates with the elemental and we make our way past it into the castle.
The plan was to kidnap someone for interrogation and that is not really what happened. We had to get past some of the wards and we were doing really well until we had to trump past a trap and they were able to detect it. We were supposed to leave Fineas behind but Jacob and I really did not feel good about it. So we made a huge distraction hoping he would be able to get someone in the ruckus. I am really blurred on what happened next but it seems we are going to take the castle so I trump Reese to get his help on this mission and I am then sent to do a trump gate and this is what I spend the rest of the day doing. Oh wow exciting to be me.
I am getting the good stuff out of auntie’s house. I will not give the thugs who showed up here the satisfaction of destroying the house and then looting it and finding anything worthwhile. The stuff isn’t really that good but it is not the point.
I am then off to mom’s condo and make a trump of the main intruder while I ponder the ways to kill him. I need rest and take time to sleep while Hienrich watches over me with the people he has with him.
Fineas calls and practically begs me not to go after Gelrack or the other lackies. Of course he isn’t ready to go after them either, but he would like me to go assist in finding someone from house Griffin. I call Flora but she doesn’t seem to have any useful information on the house to offer.
I wake up and finish the trumps I need to make. I make a Baran trump, the unknown female,two of Jacob, Hienrick, and one of Kai-Tung. I then trump Kai-Tung and make my way to the ship she is on. We head east towards the rumors and the center of gravity appears to be off. We explore a desert type area there are many air elementals here.
I then trump Fineas and he comes through and I make a sketch of the desert by camp. I then adjust my spells for this area and make a camouflage spell. We trump Jacob and he brings mounts and has Zariel scout.
Hienrick has some 30 men tread to go to Dom Daniel. I do not want to arise suspicion by trumping straight into one of auntie’s castles. I trump the entourage through as well. I then trump from Dom Daniel through one of the wall trumps to the keep. Mazentius was auntie’s old captain of the guard. I remove him from his duties as captain for completely failing me when I arrived after tussling with my niece. I place Hienrich in charge of the keep and pull an inspection. This is what auntie would have done if she were gone for a long time.
Part of the inspection involves Berritt checking out all of the staff for Choasians. She doesn’t find anything major a couple of wereleopards, werewolves and a couple of vampires.
After the inspection I did the next thing Auntie would do – head to the spa. They have very good foot massages there. The King of her shadow sends her a message via air elemental. He would like a couple of sketches. There are also messages from Rebma.
This king of her shadow seems to be a little afraid of auntie so I don’t think he will be bothering me very much. His invite is for a banquet. I take some time to do a trump of Babyagga. Also I find quite the find in a drawer that is locked and trapped. Inside it is full of trumps nothing appears very interesting. I make a real trump of me for Hienrick.
Intruders come in and there are three people forcing their way in. I try and hold them off by throwing spells at them. I am finally able to pull myself free for a moment and I call Jacob and pull him through and the real fight begins. They want to call a truce and talk but Jacob is advancing on them. They give up and leave. The house is in ruins. Auntie has to get some better friends.
I have decided it is in my best interest to tell dad what I am going to be up to so I can request guards from him and know that I plan to pass myself off as an escaped Gwyneth, 'hiding' in one of G's lesser-known keeps in hopes that one of the Chaos houses makes a move for me. I also let him know that auntie is being watched over in Rebma. Gerard inquires as to what I will need to pull this off, and of course I let him know that Hienrich will be making security plans as that is not my strong suit. Gerard thinks I should pick up a shape-shifter sniffer, and I have to call Fineas to ask for one. I also need to recalibrate my machine cause I don’t think auntie will be a concern so that leads me to think Dara likely needs some looking after. I ask dad to let me know when Dara will be gone so I can setup the contraption.
Reese trumps me and asks me to come assist with the questioning. When I tried to overrun her mind and lock her down to do no harm she resists and seems to exude a gas that takes down all the nearby the castle inhabitants. Reese and I trump her to my castle in Rebma, where my guards should be at the ready and this tramp can do less harm. We get her to my house in Rebma and get her heart started again, she stopped it when we attacked her. She wants to negotiate. She offers the cure for the people now dying in Amber Castle in trade. Reese trumps Fineas and he comes to negotiate, personally I don’t like that he is in my house. She wants her freedom and Fineas is not prepared to allow that. Meanwhile, I trump Moire to let know her that this is going on within her city. She is not overjoyed at the idea but is quite understanding.
Gerard trumps me and tells me about the new relative and to get him researching the spy's assassination tools.. Antryg and Otaru come to help with the amulets. Fineas sends Berritt who agrees to go with me on my mission and checks out the two sorcerers. I go to find out the new relative to let him know what needs to be done. She tells him what needs to be done and sends Antryg and Otaru with him to assist. The new cousin is strange and quite temperamental. He is not pleased at the idea of helping out with anything from what I can gather.
I am recalibrating to ward both the housesI feel I want to watch over. I ask Heinrich if he is prepared to leave and let him know it is going to be about 2 hours before I am prepared to leave. I should also see mother and let her know what to expect and what I is going to do. I am given a lesson about self-protection from Kelemon. She sets up the "spy-on-Dara" contraption in the house Gerard has designated as appropriate. I go to get ready, cutting my hair and dyeing it to match Gwyneth.
I am perfecting auntie’s "look" and it is not one I plan to keep for an extended amount of time. I also trump Moire to let her know what is going on and not to be surprised of reports that auntie has escaped. Moire has promised to keep auntie in check while I am pulling this off. I am off to auntie’s keep entourage in check.
The Great Beyond
Nestled at the edge of the city in the better appointed quarter lies the mortuary of Amber. It goes by the name "The Great Beyond" and has traditionally handled final arrangements for both noble and common man. The building is quite large and can process up to thirty cadavers simultaneously before extra space must be utilized elsewhere. Services range from state funerals with all the trimmings to disposal of bodies via dumping at sea.
The enterprise is run by Mortimer Clavius, an elderly widower with a somber demeanor always dressed impeccably in black. Mortimer no longer delves into the actual processing but instead restricts himself to handling the financial transactions and all dealings with the nobility and the royals. The majority of the labor is performed by four sons and two daughters. Mortimer is an extremely wealthy man having held the charter for handling the dead in Amber for over 45 years.
Ferdinand is the oldest son responsible for the crematorium and mausoleum management. He is fortyish, married for ten years but as yet childless. He tends to be the most outgoing of the children and seems to lead the closest thing to a normal life. He is active in local politics and often attends social functions on behalf of the family. His wife Larna is devoted and not put off by his profession.
Renee is the second oldest child, one of two daughters and is responsible for the cosmetics applied to the bodies for those situations requiring viewing by the public. Renee is in her late thirties and is considered a beauty, though suitors have been rare due to her vocation and private demeanor. In truth she is a very lonely person and has considered leaving the family trade to find some other vocation more conducive to her happiness.
Carl is the next oldest. Due to an accident in his youth, he sustained moderate brain damage and is employed only for the actual digging of graves and for the manual labor involved. He is a very sad person most of the time. He is aware of what might have been and keenly feels the loss of his original intellect. Carl is in his mid thirties and is very well built as the result of his labors. He also handles the dumping of destitute bodies into the bay, properly weighted with stones of course.
Paulus is the third son and is responsible for the majority of the body processing. He is an expert on anatomy and body reconstruction. He would have made an excellent physician but is content in his work. As he puts it, his clients never give him any lip and he enjoys the job security. Paulus is recently married and still in the throes of romance. His spouse Lucille refuses to visit his place of employment but she respects the work he does and certainly the wealth it brings.
Morticia is the youngest daughter, also a beauty. She is approximately thirty years of age and still single. She assists Paulus when magical reconstructive techniques are required. Morticia briefly studied in Dom Daniel, dabbling in several areas but specializing in none. She primarily uses illusionary magics in her work but dabbles in other areas as a hobby. She is strong willed and does not mind her vocation in the slightest. So far she has avoided any tint of necromancy in her work and she has a dim view of those who study such things.
Armand is the youngest son at twenty five years of age. He is something of a rake and social rebel. He hates the family business with a passion and dreams of becoming a famous artist. He argues with the rest of the family much of the time and often embarrasses them on purpose. He is used to collect the dead and frequently works with Carl to do the less pleasant duties. He is a frequent patron of many of the less seemly establishments in town.
In addition to the family, the business employs half a dozen groundskeepers and gravediggers. The turnover is high and none stick around for more than a couple of years before leaving for greener pastures.
Dr. StrangeJacob, or how I quit worrying, and learned to love the Gryphon's
Fineas - Tir Tarngir
13 - Tir Tarngir
Toriana - Tir Tarngir
Jacob - Tir Tarngir
Diego - Tir Tarngir
Jacob (Yacob Tepes, to his friends)
-Voted most likely to succeed in following Cousin Kammora by Fineas, Toriana, 13,
Rinaldo, and Diego. Jumps in after the escaping Pattern using Gryphon. Just
before his leap of faith, Fineas pulls him aside and tells him to "Kill the bitch".
-Narrowly misses a cliff, shoots through some light tree branches and lands in a tropical lagoon. Spies his quarry hiding
in a froth of bubbles. Checks his guns -- Amber ammo works. Makes fateful decision to trump HRH Morwyn.
-Morwyn brings two Tritons with her. Small battle and Kammora is subdued by
the Tritons. Morwyn Trumps Flora. Jacob Trumps Diego. Jacob draws down on
both Morwyn, who insists on blocking his shot at Kamorra, and Flora. Orders Them all to stand down and Pops a cap in
Kammora's ass. Then five more caps just to be sure. HRH Morwyn leaves in a huff with her Tritons. Flora leaves in a
Huff back to Johrom. Diego Collects what's left of Kammora in a few baggies.
-In a foul mood because of the complete cluster this assault had become, he
shares his feelings with Rinaldo. From Rinaldo he finds out about the looting of
the Gryphon Palace.
-Collects weapons and armor and gives them to Ivan and Boris when he collects
them. Finds that the Remans had captured Dante Gryphon's Love slaves. (An Asiatic man and woman, a nordic woman, a tall black woman and a local -- Mediterranean looking -- woman.) Gets
pissed when the Remans refuse his orders to pass them around among themselves. (They were very concerned that Prince Jacob might want to question them.) Fineas steps in and cools the
situation off. All of the sex slaves are packed off to Amber for questioning.
-Fineas, 13 and Rinaldo have a discussion about what went wrong with the battle.
-Fineas tells them that the plan was to Capture Kammora or Dante, and then
attack later when they had a plan. His conclusion was the Toriana and Jacob
used their wonder twins powers to come up with something on their own. He was
not informed about this change in plans. Rinaldo is not to impressed with Toriana.
-General looting of the Palace. Fineas is concentrating on papers, 13 on magical
items. Soon they find the Library, of which all other Libraries are but a mere
shadows. It takes up an entire tower. Fineas pockets a book of Oberon's poetry. Fineas and 13 discuss
carting it all back to amber lock, stock and barrel. They find that there is a
whole other branch of the family out of somebody named Queen Morgana.
Rinaldo shows up and comes up with a plan to get the magic powered catalogs
back to Amber along with the books.
-13, Fineas, and Rinaldo decided that since this whole mess is Toriana's fault,
that it should be up to her to take charge and defend this place from the
Gryphons. Their decision is based on the fact that she is still the only invested
Princeling not in charge of a major Front. Stands to reason that she should be
doing something useful.
-Investigates the magical aetherline tethers and finds a way to turn them off. Pulls
Heinrick and his crew through for her protection. Finds the Ether
communication system and finds that a message had been sent about the attack
and fall of the castle (GM Retro 13 also found this out).
-Rinaldo and her have a run in, and both leave very pissed off about each other.
-Next she finds Fineas, Rinaldo, and 13 in the Library hauling things off and
copying the family tree down. Has words with Fineas about his Brother Rinaldo's
attitude. Fineas tells Toriana that it is her attitude that needs to be adjusted
and that she is currently the least liked member of the family. He also informs
her that the three of them had made the decision that she would be in charge
of Tir Tarngir as soon as the Library was safely beyond the Gryphon's reach.
-Toriana Trumps off in a huff and goes to her Lynxian condo and draws nasty
trumps of 13, Fineas and Rinaldo.
-Works on healing Tanitheel and Dante Gryphon. Gerard bleeds into her mouth
to help heal her.
- Goes to Jacob via trump. Battle ensues. Kammora becomes a giant otter to
try and escape. Big Battle (see above under Jacob).
- Jacob Trumps Toriana (who is still in a huff and in her Condo) and pulls him
through. Continues on through to Tir Tarngir and 13, Fineas, and Rinaldo.
Informs them of his deed. Talks to them about future battle plans. It is decided
to abandon Tir Tarngir to the enemy after the Library is hauled off.
-Diego Takes body back to Amber. Has plans to "investigate" it in his lab.
-Up on the roof under a full moon he talks to Gerard (who is watching over Tanitheel, who thrives on moonlight and blood) about the execution of
Kammora. He puts a good "spin" on it for Jacob's sake. After he is done
weaving a good tale for Gerard, Gerard informs Diego that Moire had accepted his invitation to attend his investiture and that this was the first time a queen of Rebma had come to Amber in something like 2,000 years. Diego makes psychic contact with the regeneration-trancing Tanitheel and figures out how to duplicate the trick. He regrows a couple of his toes within an hour.
-Diego goes off to his room for a bubble bath and lots of rum, which he drinks through a finger. As a precaution he forms his nose into a snorkel. He is very pleased with himself. Trumps his
sister Morwyn and they dish about Jacob, Flora, his Party and why Morwyn and
Moire won't be attending his big shindig. She does tell him that they will have a
big party for him down in Rebma. Also that she'd talked her mom out of recalling Amber Trump Mistress Kelamon to Rebma. Afterwards, Diego Drinks until he
-Makes some more nasty trumps of her male Amber cousins. Moire Trumps her
and tells Tori to pass onto Jacob that he is persona non grata in Rebma. Has a
lengthy discussion with her about the future Amber/Rebman relations. Tries to
set herself up in a position to be the hinge pin of that relation. Attempts to place all the blame on Flora, who had made Trumps of the two of her children she'd met but hadn't shared the knowledge. Moire said it had come out when she mind-scanned Flora for Chaosite influences, and cleared her. Moire passed her a Trump of the other kid but requested Toriana not just off and kill him.
-Trumps Jacob and they prepare to go see Gerard.
-Pack it up, move it out, Rawhide! The library is getting moved it takes three
Amber days to do so. Toward the end the Gryphon's do some recon/probing of
the defenses. It is decided to have the sections of the library split up into five
smaller chunks and set up in different places around the Amber castle and the
-Fineas talks to Liam about places to set up the Library. Liam says that his
House will gladly work on finding places for the Library.
-Fineas recruits Flintwick, leader of the Tir Tarngir Brownies and then all of the
Brownies help in moving the books. They will be moved to Fineas' estate after all is done. Recruitment was made easier by the beastmens' habit of occasionally killing and eating brownies, and their masters' indifference to that habit. There are 120 of them.
-Fineas and Rinaldo have a short, terse discussion about letting their Mother
(Jasra) have access to the Library. It is decided that it is Fineas' responsibility
to figure out a way to get her into Amber without her getting caught.
-13 first Talks to Sabine and finds out that 3 days here was about 5 back in the
Helgram zone. Fineas wants some Magic assistance, so 13 is going to have to do
some troop swapping. He talks to Fenmor about getting a command staff/staff
mages for Castle Anthrax, Moves Badger, Kirsten, and Sabine to Tir Tarngir and
the leaves Jurgen and Gertruda in charge at Castle Anthrax, with some elfy-type Rangers to help out.
-13 supervises the move. Fineas sets up a defense of the castle using the
Remans. Badger and Sabine alternately search the Palace and surrounding grounds for magically hidden items while the other keeps watch. Rinaldo provides surface-to-air magical ground defenses, and all three work on the palace's wards. Kirsten finds some interesting things to bite.
-Wakes up in a cold, un-bubbly bathtub with his finger in an empty bottle of rum.
Gets dressed and checks up on Dante and Tanitheel. Satisfied with their
progress, he goes back to his home shadow with Kammora's body. Talks business
with his people and is quite distraught about Jacob's Jar o' post ghosties. He
has decided that it is up to him to defend Tir Tarngir from the Gryphon's and
heads there with gusto.
-Fineas and him Finalize the plans to defend Tir Tarngir. Fineas mentions
Hellmaids and Dara, wanting to confuse the Gryphons with apparent Hendrake personnel.
-Jacob and Toriana go to Amber to meet with Gerard about Jacob's actions.
Jacob gives an impassioned argument (using small words) Defending why he killed
Kammora. Brings up very strong evidence about Flora's knowledge, and Rebma's
lack of commitment to the defeat of the Chaosians. Brings up doubt's about
Flora's, Moire's, and Morwyn's loyalty to Amber. Toriana is in her zone. She
uses her knowledge of Rebma, Moire, Flora's culpability, and her Uber-ability to
lay gigantic guilt trips on her Father Gerard to devastating effect. Gerard is
swayed by their arguments, But for the sake of peace with Rebma he is obliged
to meet out justice on Jacob. Jacob is commanded to write an apology to
Morwyn for threatening her and is Banned from Rebma. Personally Gerard
forgives Jacob. The killing isn't much of an issue to him, threatening Flora and Morwyn is the problem.
-After all of the books are hauled out, 13 joins Badger and Sabine in their
magical tasks. No hidden items left in the castle. Wards are in place. Defenses
strengthened. Two of the Sex Slaves are brought back for Diego to talk to (the
Asian man and the Nordic woman).
-13, Badger, Sabine, Kirsten, Boris and Ivan head back to Amber for the
investiture of Diego and Rinaldo. Finds gift weapons that should work in Johrom
from Diego in his room.
-13 Goes to Sigmarin to pick up the magicoins that the machine had made.
Readjusts it and heads back to amber.
-Meets with Gerard and informs him on the situation in Johrom, the Helgram
zone, and what he thought was going to happen between Jacob and Kammora (he thought that he was going to capture her if at all possible). He also brought up his request to have Sabine walk a broken pattern. Gerard agreed to test her for survivability. 13 suggests that Gerard calls a Family meeting so Priorities, Areas of operations, and what the next tasks are going to be. Gerard agrees.
-Talks to Jacob about the defense of Tir Tarngir. They also dish about life, the
universe and everything. Ok, mostly Kammora, her death, the Rebman's and
Gerard's reaction to his killing of her.
-Spells out his hatred of Flora to Fineas, Rinaldo, and Jacob. Jacob and Diego
make nice. Jacob apologizes to Diego about pointing a revolver at his sister
(Morwyn). Hands Diego the written Apology, and Diego in turn Trumps this
letter to HRH Morwyn.
-Diego, Fineas, Jacob, and Rinaldo talk about how silly of a place Rebma is.
Jacob - Tir Tarngir, Planning a rear guard action.
Toriana - In Amber, Using her guilt trip ability on her Father.
13 - In Amber, Pissed off at Toriana.
Fineas - Tir Tarngir, Planning a rear guard action.
Diego - Tir Tarngir, Getting read to lead rearguard action.
We laid more questions on the local air sprites and got as good a picture as possible of the current situation. It looks as though Flora’s brats are more than willing to work with their Gryphon kin, and that the bastards have taken the Pattern and figured out what to do with it. Also, they’ve tied down the magickal currents in the area and put them to use -- we’ve sighted at least two air-ships that they use to get from the city up to the moon that we can see up above us -- strange to see the thing so close, but stranger still to see lakes and forests on it. According to Zariel’s new friends, there’s hundreds of cities up there, and this place is more of an outpost. Tori’s fairly certain that the real pull of the Pattern she feels is from up above us as well.
Just more and more good news. I think I might bust from it all.
So we set about to have Zariel sneak into the city under cover of a good-sized blow from off the coast that looked to have stripped the hide clean off a man. He got in all right, and we used a trump to move through to him -- Tori had done one up of him previously (took her awhile to get the likeness down, what with him being as he is). Diego joined us for this bit, and after we secured the abandoned building Zariel had found, set out to wander the town in a form that seemed to match the local beastmen troops. I’ve seen their like before and he matched them well-enough. Hopefully he has the good sense to get out of that sort of shape before the shooting starts. We’ll see -- I half think that the only reason he’s along for this bit of business is for us to see how well he holds up when things get warm.
I’m something of a pessimist by nature and I didn’t see it as likely that Diego would come up with the magic password to get us into the local general’s bedchamber. To that end, I sent Zariel scouting the sewer tunnel roundabout the main palace to find us a decent way in. Mages are a touchy lot, and tend to skimp a bit on proper security when it comes to walking in their own backwash, if you take my meaning.
Zariel found a good way in, blocked only by a surly undine, so once we’d confirmed that Diego wasn’t going to hit a good vein, I lit out that direction with Fineas and Toriana (who didn’t seem to mind the idea of a sewer entrance nearly as much as I’d expected). I struck a bargain with the undine in the typical way to keep him on my side of things for the next couple hours, and we slipped by into the palace itself.
The next bit was tedious. With Zariel, a little caution, and a trump or two we managed to get right near the heart of things in the palace before anyone took much note of us; it took over an hour. By that point, it was clear they knew something was going on but not what, so Fineas slipped in a bit further and Toriana and I set back the other direction trying to draw as much attention as possible.
It should be noted that, between the both of us, Toriana and I can cause a fair ruckus.
Now the next part gets a bit hazy, but by the time I’d hopped back to our hideout building, Gerard was there. My first instinct was to assume that Tori had called for him out of ignorance, but it turned out that it was Diego that thought it was a good idea to put our regent in mortal danger for no good reason. He may have a head for test-tube, but it’s clear the boy had no good sense.
I meant to say something, but right about then some of our Gryphon enemy appeared in an upper floor of our hidey hole and I ran out of time for conversation. I was up the stairs just behind Zariel and Gerard was behind me when someone up the stairs threw off a spell that knocked Zariel sixteen ways at once and nearly left me flat. That git of Flora’s with the bow took a shot at me as well, and I got off the stairs in a hurry before she could get a clean line on me or the regent. A few seconds later, they reconsidered their attack and vanished. I turned around to try to convince Gerard and everyone else that we needed to be gone from this place while Diego argued for a full out frontal assault. Gerard of course listened to the newcomer with no sense. They’re perfect for each other.
I did at least get Gerard to go back to Amber -- there might have been some swearing involved.
Bad enough that the thing had to be done, but I thought it could at least be done right, so I sent Toriana through to Derkon and my reman troops and we set up a trump gate big enough to flood the palace. Thirteen and I were the first one’s through and Fineas didn’t look surprised when we popped into the same palace hall we’d just left -- I didn’t expect him to.
Let me keep it short: Reman’s can clear hallways with a passion when they set their minds to it. The palace was ours in an hour, and Tori and I reset the trump gate to open troops out into the front courtyard where I could dispense them better while Fineas and Thirteen went hunting for our cousin with the bow. She got away by jumping from a tower and shifting Shadow as she fell through a cloud of mist.
I was fairly impressed with that trick until I got the notion that most everyone I called cousin seemed to think that I was the perfect one to go on after her.
I managed to calm down enough to keep from burning down a city with several thousand innocents trapped inside. It doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment when you see it written out that way, but at the time it was the best I could manage.
Toriana and I (and, to be fair, several dozen local mages), rendered the inhabitants of the city unconscious and bound up the rebels.
The problem, which I think is important to make mention of, is not that the troops didn’t want to listen to me anymore -- I don’t consider myself much of a general in the first place to be honest, and secretly I suppose I’d agree with them. The problem is that a trust was broken, not between myself and the men, but between the people of Hunac and me -- my troops were brought into this world under the assumption that they were there to protect and defend. That they turned on an entire city to use as hostages made a liar and oath-breaker out of me. I’ve rarely been in that situation before and only once in my not-insignificant lifespan has it been because of the actions of someone acting in my stead.
I will perform questionable acts, but I’ve found I want a reason for it.
So it was fairly clear that the troops had to suffer. Talking things over with Fineas (and there are few harder things I’ve done than admitting that my own troops have rebelled against me, especially to the other fellow that’s gathering up armies), it became clear that it would be a help to the greater cause if they were also made an example of, rather than just sent off to an anonymous death in Shadow (which was my first idea).
I settled on impalings, someplace where the deaths of a couple three or four thousands would be of no real use to the Hendrake necromancers in the region. Several hundred of the officers were cast upon the mercies of the local courts -- I kept their particular mounts, which were quite fine, but gifted the four thousand about to become ownerless to the city that had been made hostage, as a gesture of contrition. I may do more for them at some later date, but for now, the gear and horseflesh of their oppressors will have to do.
Thinking more on the executions and some of the things I’d seen that bastard Jelerac accomplished while fighting with Toriana and me, I discussed (with Derkon) putting the deaths of these forty-five hundred men to some use -- no reason they couldn’t continue to serve our cause as Fineas had commented.
So their souls we kept, as many as we could, captured in spirit jars each about the size of a pony keg. I have designs in mind that will allow us to make use of them as weapons.
It was long work. The sun rose and fell twice before we were done. I have a vague impression that Toriana contacted me at some point during it all, but no clear recollections. Afterwards, I took the last the spirit jars to the home city of the not-men that dwelt within it and released them to sow a tale of terror about the woes of disloyalty. Following that, I trumped to Johrom, locked myself in a room, and slept.
I’d hoped exhaustion would make dreams unlikely or at least forgetable. I wasn’t lucky in that regard -- the hours passed slow and I woke often. I was almost glad when Toriana called me and said I was needed again. I hadn’t had enough rest by half, but it would have to do. Better than sleeping, at any rate.
Toriana had found the location of the lost Tir pattern, apparently, and hoped to accomplish something in our favor there. Fineas she had already pulled through along with some of his troops, so I gathered up a commensurate number of mounts from my small herd and horsed the lot of them.
The place was heavy with air elementals; I counted that for the first blessing I’d had in a fortnight. Zariel spoke to them at some length, which I’ve found shortens up the process of intelligence gathering a bit. We learned enough to know that we needed to learn more, and set onto a plan to gather up a useful captive. It felt good to be working on something like this; it was the first forward momentum I’d made in a week.
I've just finished talking to SJG about getting some garrison troops for Castle
Anthrax. He said that they were pretty thinly spread and that the new
recruits were not up to the usual high Amber standards, but that they would
do for what I needed. He told me that he would be having Finmor at the
"ranger station" gather up a hundred or so and trump me when he was ready.
I also asked for 20 liter's of blood (Kirsten is whining about being hungry
again). He gave an odd look and told me he would see what he could do. I
thanked him and signed off.
My first concern was the Vampire's returning Patrol's, Second was getting
enough supplies to make Castle Anthrax's garrison functional. The first was
pretty easy since most of the returning patrols had frag'd their leaders once
the Vampire's Thrall had worn off. I was about to work on the Second when
Badger informed me that the Castle's and holdings Wards were starting to
fail. Kirsten told us that they were bound to the Elder Vampire and with him
New number two. Kirsten wanted to just use the peasants like her
predecessor had done, but I was not to comfortable with that notion. Having
built Several ward stones, all we needed to do was make a larger version. One
problem was the lack of any lay lines in the Shadow. It was decided to use one
of the two coins that we had to power it. Next Sabine, Badger and I rode the
boundaries and set everything up. There was probing coming from all sides.
I was attacked by one of the Fire Mage's toadies and was easily able to take
him out. When the wards were back up, the probing ceased. The new wards
were much stronger then the old ones....that ought to confuse our new
neighbors just a bit.
Next on the list was to procure supplies. I rode out into shadow with a
mixture of the Gurka's and Castle Anthrax's patrol's. I did my best to try
and conceal my pattern usage this near to the Helgram's, so it took awhile to
find a group of Farmers taking there goods to a market town. We waylaid
them and took everything back to the Castle. About a third of it I gave to the
locals and the rest went to the Castle (it should last a better part of a year,
longer if the amber troops bring their own provisions).
When I got back Finmor trumped me and sent through to me the promised
hundred troops, 20 liter's of blood, and about a weeks worth of provisions for
each. I thanked him and greeted the troops and told them all about their
duties and the lay of the land.
I went to go see Kirsten next with some of the Blood. She was almost in a
torpor state and I gave her a little bit of a pick-me-up (a vial of Lord
Alcazar's blood). She perked really quickly, and I gave her a few of the liter's
to feed on. She was very greatful and thanked me for them.
I trumped Princess Flora and gave her her Gurka's back and thanked her for
their use. She told me that everything was going well and as soon as Jacob
showed up, things in Jelorum ought to be put right straight away. I again
thanked her and wished her good luck on the Jacob thing (Fineas seems to be
right about his assessment about our Cousin Jacob).
Kirsten spoke up then telling us that since she now had some of the memories
of the Elder, she knew where a map of the area was, and she went to fetch it.
looking it over after she had brought it back, we noticed that it was a long way
to the Capitol. I trumped Tanitheel and found that she was in the bath ( why
is every woman that I had trumped recently been naked?). I gave her a few
minutes and trumped her back. She was in a better, clothed situation and
more comfortable when I restarted the request. I told her of my plan to have
her fly to the Helgram's Capitol and then trump me and see what the situation
is from there. She told me that she was willing to take the risk so I pulled her
About a day later she trumped me and pulled me through. This City was much
better off then Shandora, Jelorum, or Hunoc. Not Bad. We found a little
niche to duck into and I stealthfully started to scan about (Tanitheel shifted
to look like an old woman). Very little Necro power...But there were two Logrus
tendrils probing around where Tanitheel had pulled me through. So the
Helgram's were aware of trumps, and their power signature. Interesting...they
are going to be much harder to deal with then the Hendrake's. I felt it
prudent to move a few blocks away from the Tendrils. When we had found a
new place to do some recon work, it turned out to be an ambush point for a
threesome of very unskilled footpads. Their leader attacked me and I cut him
in half. This really made an impression on the other two (Ivan and Boris) and
they joined up with our "Gang". I started again to probe the Capitol. The
Logrus tendrils were still going over the area where I had been.
Systematically going over everything. All was going well until The Brat
"We need you!" Her acidic voice purred.
"What are you trying to do kill me, your father gave express orders not to
Trump me." I barked at her. Her face gave no sign of knowing, or caring.
"we NEED you NOW!" was her reply.
I did a quick scan...sure enough the Tendrils when now just out side of the
building. Damn and Blast.
I grabbed Tanitheel, Ivan and Boris and pitched them through to Toriana. A
tendril attached it's self to my foot and I was able to cut it off and make it
to wherever we now were.
The Brat pointed up to the really large moon and the glowing lay lines that
came from it to the large castle on the hill. She told me to make sure to keep
anything from leaving the moon and turned and left. If the whole thing hadn't
been so interesting, I would have left for Castle Anthrax that moment. To
Toriana's retreating back I yelled "why don't you just destroy the Lay lines?"
She laughed and continued on her way. There were large numbers of troops
running around (hopefully ours). they looked as if they were getting ready to
assault the Castle.
Jacob saw me and came up and asked me what I am doing. I told him and his
response was very logical "Who are you going to listen to...the warfare Queen
or me". Good point. At least his idea was much more fun. I met up with
Fineas and he was going to go to the right when he got into the Castle and I
was going to go to the left. I found a spot in a room full of sex toys and told
Boris and Ivan to stay put (fineas' eyes got really large and he started to
blush at the sight of the sex toys). They nodded vigorously and went to the
A few minutes later, Jacob was lit up like a bonfire...By drawing the enemies
fire he gave Fineas and I a good advantage in the battle. As I made my way
through the castle I noticed that the symbols and colors were that of House
Gryphon. So the three of them had found the last Major house.
Tanitheel and me had made our way to the center of the castle. I could see
a large tower in the center where the Lay lines terminated. It was surrounded
by several other smaller towers. The cardinal point towers had walkways to
the larger tower. I asked Tanitheel if she thought she could carry me up to
the main tower. She said "sure"...and proceeded to make herself more
We were just about to clear the line of smaller towers when Tanitheel let out
a cry. I looked up and my face was soon covered with blood. Tanitheel had
been shot with an arrow by someone in the large tower. I grabbed my magic
rope and sent it out to grab the passing smaller tower. It attached it's self
and I reeled us in.
I pulled the arrow and cast a quick heal spell to try and stop the blood flow.
The next thing to do was to Trump her to Amber. When that was done I
Trumped SJG and told him the situation, he told me that Fineas had just
trumped him and verified that Amber powder worked wherever in the universe
I was. Though it would seem very un-Fineas like not to have tested things out
prior to attacking. So this whole thing must have been the Brats doing. May
her father roger her to death....
When SJG had passed through my weapons I made my way to the walkway that
led to the big tower that I saw while falling. Down a few floors and over...yee-
haw there it was. Now up the stairs, I could her gun shots ringing out...must
be Fineas. Yes, sounded like his Barrett. Onward up the stairs. I hear a loud
crashing sound from up above and someone crying out in pain. For some reason
the entire top floor (and walls) was covered in ice. I got to the a point were
a gondola had crashed onto the floor, A woman armed with a bow was dragging
a wound man off of the roof. I fired in there direction...missing the woman
but nailed the man and she dropped him. I ran over to the edge getting there
just in time to watch her fall into a cloud of Air Elementals and Pattern shift
Somebody has some explaining to do for this cluster fuck.....
In going from basic to standard Pattern by Specializations you are not bound by the one-point per spend thing (since you could buy the whole thing at once). The examples are not complete and it doesn't matter which ones you use to reach the 5 or 10 point cost.
2 Shifting to known places (more speed, ease, route choice, "royal way", closer to Amber/Rebma/Tir Tarngir)
2 Sending things or people through shadow (more speed, ease...)
2 Shifting to complex desires (your image gains more scenario qualities; for instance, your desired biker bar will have a gunless brawl without you altering probability after getting there; also, more intangible definition -- gravity, some magical qualities, etc)
2 Better hellriding (faster, easier, safer, take more people with you, limit the psychic stress on passengers)
2 Better, easier shadow resources (quickly 'find' a hawk to attack the bird spying on you, easily 'find' a mount, that sort of thing)
2 Shadow Path creation/erasure (easier, faster, more complex or conditional, stealthed)
2 Focused (vs a particular power)
2 weather control
2 magical manipulation
2 focused (Logrus, magic, etc)