Fineas will impose upon Zhartra one last time to deliver the following response to Marcus. If she is unwilling, Fineas will ask Flora to trump her daughter to deliver it and will brief Flora with the minimum information to secure her help. The text follows:
I am pleased you are in good health. I have brought your request before a very select few of our leaders to plead your cause. I am confident that they share recognition of the desirability of a stable Tir region under your control. I feel safe in saying we all wish you the greatest success in founding a new house free from servitude to the Serpent's realm.
Savaton was badly wounded in the recent unpleasantness but is expected to recover. I am interested in how you propose to effect his release without arousing suspicion from the Gryphon Elders. Until he is in better shape and we have details about how best to repatriate him, it is perhaps best he remain our guest but kept appraised of the situation.
I have kept our correspondence secret from most of the family to reduce the risk of discovery by other agents. It will be necessary to inform Queen Moire to obtain her agreement to a post war division of shadows. I am undertaking this consultation as we speak and will do my best to present the case for a new Tir realm on your behalf.
In order to give the appearance that nothing has changed, expect continued military preparation on Amber's part. We will not move against you during the 2 weeks you require and with luck, will not need to move at all if you are successful. If something should go awry, remember my offer of sanctuary still holds. I will try and arrange a trump to be delivered to each of your loyalists if you so desire.
I look forward to meeting you in the flesh someday in more peaceful circumstances. It is always a pleasure to find intelligent and reasonable people amongst one's relations. The powers know they sometimes seem rare.
Fineas of Amber
Dearest Regent Gerard, Prince of Amber, Admiral of the Fleet.
I humbly submit this letter of as an act of contrition to you and your kith and kin for any hurt feelings the article in the publication The Royal Way titled "Is Prince Diego the new Corwin? Rude, Brash, Glory hound, Megalomaniac, and looking for an Eric" may have caused.
Our readership is, as always, curious about the ins and outs of the Royal family, and has requested that we explore, in depth, the new Royal Family members. As in the past, with the birth of your precious Daughter Toriana, and your decision to take on the mantle and burden of the Regency. Our determination to explore the similarities and differences between Prince Diego and his Father were in keeping with this expectation.
This Article, as you may have read, dealt with Prince Diego's commitment to the healing arts in both Amber and Lynxia, his drive to improve Vulnavia's lot in life, the unfortunate events at his coronation, his relationships with Llewella, and Queen Moire, and HRH Morwyn. We also explored his part in the return of Prince Martin, his service to Amber at Tir Tarngir, and his new business endeavors in Dom-Daniel.
But, sadly, every story has two sides to it and we would have been remiss in not delving into them. We regret the fact that Prince Diego did not wish us to investigate his dealings with women of questionable backgrounds and moral fiber (Kyliki and Alexa), his intense loathing of the Princess' Flora and Toriana, and his inequitable business dealings with the Noble Trade House and the Conjury school in Dom-Daniel. We interviewed psychologist Werner Von Rand about perception of Prince Diego's deep root desire to be loved and adored by everyone that he meets, His desire to dominate, and his love/hate relationship with women of power. Our readership found this article most enlightening.
Also enlightening was the interview with Princess Llewella. Her insight and fondness for Prince Diego was, we felt, a wonderful piece of journalistic counter balance. But, if it is felt that we overstepped our bounds in regards to Prince Diego, we humbly submit that in future all stories dealing with shall be submitted to Chancellor Emrys Feldane for approval.
Our decision to publish his letter to us was based on the belief that we needed to make clear our intentions and Prince Diego's intentions toward us. As in the past, under your Fathers Reign, We understand and except the fact that with our decisions come responsibility to the Crown. We know of writers that had made the mistake of writing about Prince Bleys and later had met with mysterious and unfortunate circumstances, we pray that this is not the case now. But, if you feel that it is necessary to revoke our Royal Charter, we will remit it with out delay.
Items included with this letter:
Topics and questions for our future interview with Prince Fineas and Lady Ky Tung.
Monies from Prince Diego for the article retraction.
Compensation for Prince Diego's pain and suffering due to the Article and our subsequent publishing of his letter to us.
Your humble and faithful servant, Lady Embeth Wodehouse DSA, OO.
I have followed with some interest your editorial regarding Prince Diego of Amber, being an avid reader of your publication. I wish to corroborate a few points made by the Prince in his rebuttal. During our recent victories against the vile denizens of chaos, Prince Diego has unswervingly provided aid and assistance to the realm to the best of his ability. At no time has he ever threatened the realm, even when matters of personal importance to him were involved. In these matters he has proven himself not to be following in Corwin's footsteps.
The Royal Family is not a monolithic hive-mind, all in harmony at all times. We argue with each other as all families do from time to time. I would not encourage those watching from the outside to read more into the family squabbles than actually exists. No one of the family is contemplating taking up arms against any other member of the family as Eric and Corwin did.
I would not wish to tell The Royal Way what may and what may not be published. I merely wished to add my perspective to the situation for what you may deem it worth.
Prince Fineas of Amber
The Following is the unedited letter to the Editor from Prince Diego of Vulnavia. We at the Royal Way stand by our Writer's Editorial on the Subject of Prince Corwin's Progeny. We all remember Prince Corwin's attack on the One True Kingdom, and the suffering of our fair city during that time.
The information for the editorial was gathered from our source's in Amber, Rebma, and Dom-Daniel. We hope to soon have a reporter stationed in Vulnavia to give our gracious readership a better prospective on the Universe around us. This will allow the Royal Way to continue to bring you, dear reader, perspective and insight on Amber, Rebma, The Golden Circle Kingdom, and other important shadows that you have come to expect.
Our Speculation that the Fair Princess Toriana is being cast as Eric to Prince Diego's Raging Corwin is an impartial view based on recent events. This view point was not formed in a vacuum, but a strongly help opinion in "certain circles".
Embeth Wodehouse, DSO, MAE.
Editor, The Royal Way
A letter to the royal way..
I must take grave exception to your recent article entitled "Is Prince Diego the new Corwin? Rude, Brash, Glory hound, Megalomaniac, and looking for an Eric"
I find it to be inapproriate during a time of war, and entirely with out any factual basis.
As I have recently told the regent himself I have no desire for the throne, now or at any time in the future. My numerous obligations would prohibit any such endeavor. nor have I exhibited the desire a "meglomaniacal" desire for conquest, as My country has retained the same borders for centuries, and ignored many opportunities that have presented themselves.
It should also be noted that my people have contributed thousands of lives, and well in excess of thirty three million dollars to the war effort. Money that could have been spent at home, and is far greater then the amount of trade we have received.
The lion's share considerable resources I have amased for the war since my coronation are not being held in secret for a coup, but are known to the public as a clear statement of my intention to beat every single vile chaosian interloper back past the dancing mountains.
All I can say to address the further ill-considered epithets contain in the article is that the author has never met me, and that they do not belong in any publication with the pretense of being non-fiction.
On a personal note, and not for publication, corwin's adultery caused great suffering to the great and kind people that raised me as their own, robbed my mother of the ability to have further children, and eventually resulted in both of their untimely deaths. In addition I now know Eric murdered all three of my older brothers, and personally tortured me so I would gain my powers at an earlier, and unsafe age. This resulted in countless hours of agony. I suspect that I was being used to gain the resources of my people to help obtain the throne of amber. That will never happen. As you can clearly see I have no desire to have any comparisons made between myself, and those sad individuals.
I am requesting a full retraction, and apology to be run across your front page. To help avoid any further misunderstanding, or the need for further impassioned recourse, with this letter I have enclosed funds in cover the printing of the retraction, confiscation of the original article, and enough left over to treat your entire staff to a fine meal.
Fineas will make the following information available to family members who ask. It has been updated to reflect current status.
Jan Van Eyck, reputed son of Corwin, age 56, Shadow Earth
Van Eyck has spent almost 40 years as a thug, a drunkard and a druggie on a more-than-human scale. Despite 22 escapes, he's spent 12 of those years in various prisons. He kills casually and for the fun of it. His word is worthless. He's fond of raping women and cutting them up.
Flora's organization is keeping an eye on Van Eyck for Gerard. Should the subject somehow find a way out of Earth or begin to study magic or any other power, he's to be killed immediately.
Fineas' Update: Jan Van Eyck recently escaped for the 23rd time, murdering his lawyer in the process. Given Gryphon interest in our shadows (and potentially greater than normal interest in Flora's shadow) I put Van Eyck down before he could be contacted and recruited by Gryphon. At some point when time allows, redress should be made to the families of his victims.
Galina Ostreyeva, reputed daughter of Caine, age 166, Shadow Inakhos
Galina is a music teacher and peace activist in Inakhos, a high tech low-magic shadow. Her views seem to be sincere and strongly held; She's suffered three years incarceration for her anti-war activities. Moreover, her actions for the last 80 years and three identities are consistent with her pacifism.
Eric told Gerard about Galina personally. As there is no evidence that her existence is even suspected by anyone else (except possibly Benedict) and she would just be in the way, she's been left alone unless Inakhos is invaded.
Fineas' Update: Galina has been contacted and made aware of her heritage by myself. She has indicated a desire to see Amber and has been brought in to decide for herself if she can join us with a clear conscience. Her contributions need not be military. It seems likely she has much to offer the realm in more civilized endeavors and should prove an asset to the family.
Othwulf, son of Julian, age 95, Shadow Yarnsaxa
Othwulf is a bronze age barbarian outlaw with an extremely abrasive personality. He offended Julian so much he was left to rot in Yarnsaxa. Among other things, Othwulf is an extreme tribal chauvinist, seeing any foreign customs, speech or equipment as inferior and effete. His Amberite strength and speed have allowed him to become a loutish bully, even by local standards; hence his outlaw status.
Gerard's note: Just what we need. Let him rot.
Fineas' note: Possibly a long term rehabilitation project. Of no value to us under the current situation.
Arpad Balogh, son of Bleys, age 271, Shadow Gyala
King Arpad rules a medieval craphole, badly, as a sort of demon on earth. He's known for treachery, gluttony, sexual excess, sadism and alternating brilliance in battle with disastrously stupid mistakes. He's an effective sorcerer (poorly trained by Amber standards) in a world of incompetents. His stated goal is to rule his world. He's conquered about a quarter of the main continent twice and been beaten back to a small mountain kingdom three times.
There should be a use for him, somewhere far from Amber. Eventually.
Fineas' Note: He sounds much too like a chaosian for my taste. I would let him be.
Decla the Fair, Daughter of Bleys, age 117, Shadow Galway
Decla has spent her life as a whore, thief, adventuress, blackmailer and madam. She is utterly self centered and quite ruthless. Currently she's a highly successful madam in the capitol city of Enskarne. She has an unfortunate love of getting important men to fight duels over her, preferably to the death.
Decla's potential usefulness is more than counterbalanced by her bad habit. We don't need Feldanes knifing Chantrises over a member of the royal family. Worse, she is unlikely to ever learn loyalty.
Fineas' Note: She sounds like an interesting lady. A pity we could not sic her on the Courts to keep up their internal strife.
Most nights when I have research to attend to I sleep
in a cave by the labs to save time, and enjoy the
smell of the ocean. the decorations are sparse , some
family photos, an old iron cot, and a table. the lower
levels of the "walls" are covered with chalk drawings
my children made. I have had them preserved with a few
well placed wards, the higher up you go the more my
ideas, and calculations that I have sketched in
colored chalk over the years appear. I am forever
running out of paper. The main piece of decor is an
old Culpepper minutemen flag that has been preserved
for 165 years with musket holes, and bloodstains
intact. Today the image and words on the flag have an
extra meaning. They are a coiled rattle snake
surrounded by the text that says "Liberty or Death",
and "Don't Tread on Me". I have to smile as I smoke my
old clay pipe, and the brisk ocean breeze renews me. I
remember how those words helped us give the Hessians
hell. I remember fighting for an idea, feeling proud..
and feeling right. Tonight I need more then a memory,
and rum is hardly a worthy substitute. I can hear the
waves bringing up the sound of submerged fifes and
drums from sunken fleets I used to sail with. I hear
sound from players that went down with the ship
fearlessly playing into the depths, leaving their
sound to echo under the waves forever, renewing the
ocean itself. The brave sounds of virtuous men forever
traveling only to shatter when it hits the immortal
shores of wicked Amber.
I could never be warrior by trade, a lumbering gorilla
who could only offer his illegitimate children a
legacy of bomb craters to nest their cribs. I could
never fight for money. I could never fight for my own
glory. I could fight for an idea. I could fight to
avenge my family. I do not find "fight for amber
because we are marginally less revolting then your
other option" a potent battle cry. I build and heal. I
have saved well in excess of a million lives through
my hospitals and field work. I have liberated
thousands of slaves. these are the things that are
meaningful to me, not immortality or personal power. I
have to admit that personal power is meaningful now,
but only to protect myself from the lunatics I have
been introduced to.
If the amber breeding experiment had focused on
constructive types instead of martial primates
perpetually goose stepping and indulging in phallic
competition rituals, there would not be this war.the
will reflects into shadow. The eerie part is the only
time I have sensed a kindred spirit with these
monsters involves brass shells flying, and blood
sailing through the sky like mad clouds given divine
I didn't relish meeting Corwin's other progeny, their
shiny faces a bitter mirror for mine. I didn't relish
Gerhard's late surfacing ethics when he was upset that
I "snubbed" them. WHAT THE HELL!!! I deserve a medal
for my heroic generosity ! In less then a minute I
gave them more then their twisted progenitor has given
me in 352 years. It is good we finally meet after hell
has officially frozen over, and a hint of armageddon
fills the air. Perhaps I should make Gerhard happy.
Perhaps I should place a balm at the altar of the mad
ape king. The mad ape king who would not get his stone
ass off the throne, even if one of his precious
sociopaths were to dig up and molest the skulls of my
dead sons with necromantic lust. Perhaps I should
invite Lucifer's cherubs to a picnic. I could Make our
repast a fitting tribute to their father's legacy. I
could serve red wine, and finger sandwiches made from
the bodies of my brothers, the ones I suspect Eric
killed, while we look out over my parent's graves.
Perhaps we could have warm food, and cook it on a fire
over my their graves. I wouldn't need a match as all
the required heat would be generated by the velocity
at which once dear bodies would spin six feet below.
perhaps... I find it more then ironic that such a
gnarled twisted tree with bitter roots in foul soil
has borne more then rotten fruit. Rotten fruit..
hmmmm.. that brings back a memory.
When I was with a galleon off the Barbary coast, a
sailor hand purchased a monkey at a local market. This
monkey was the vilest animal I have ever dealt with
(excluding amber), and I have dealt with countless
animals. This infernal little spider monkey would
fondle itself, chew on the rigging, urinate on the
crew, shriek at all hours of the day, and nearly set
off all the powder. when it ate all the fruit we had
been saving, it sealed it's fate. It seemed both
absurd, yet profoundly therapeutic to drug that damn
monkey and make it walk the plank. The crew even made
a special little plank for the occasion, and cheered
when it was done. What brings this old story up is
that when Torriana began her ill-considered tirade
against me, after I had began to drift away from her
delusional ranting, after my ears had muted her
insanity, and my glassed over eyes blurred the vision
of her madness, I saw the gestures of that obscene
primate mimicked in her motions. then I remembered the
Monkey's name...Toro, and then I suspect a smirk
sealed my fate with the purple maned imp. The thing
about torriana is that she is so self absorbed that
the more passionate she becomes about something, the
harder it is to pay any attention at all. WOW- It is
amazing how well primate metaphors hold up in relation
to Amber. She has proven herself A real vindictive
little brat for the imagined slights I have inflicted
upon her, while I was hoping to mend our relationship
Continue to flirt with invoking my diabolical streak
little girl, it would make an interesting challenge
with depths you could never hope to fathom. vindictive
is a word for both of us, but only my motivation
actually exists in the real world. I hope you can hold
your fiction less dear in the future, or you may find
there is nothing more dangerous then a man once his
dreams have died.
vindictive...Eureka..that's it !!!!
Gweneth..it explains so much. I see it all now! Tori
uses treason as a defense mechanism versus people who
have the pride to avoid paying homage to these
imaginary tea parties she hosts in honor of herself.
Tori will be forever looking to fill the place setting
left empty by her father, sad, but delusional behavior
is delusional behavior, and cannot be humored in times
of war. All that is holding Gweneth, if I recall
correctly, is the word of tori, who, I have no doubt,
has given false testimony about my person to everyone
with in ear shot, ever since she merged with whora. I
must use all my powers to secure the release of that
poor woman. justice must triumph! Gwen can be a
difficult, but she can carry herself with dignity, she
has information I need, we now have a common problem,
and hopefully she will value my healing of her
wrist.This is all to perfect not to be true! If
Torriana can accuse me of treachery after learning one
of my best friends died at the hands of the enemy
because I tried to comply with this obscene new royal
decree, after having personally witnessing me put
myself in harms way on multiple occasions, my
contributions of millions to the war effort, my
sacrificing nearly 5000 troops, and my healing
hundreds of soldiers, she will have no trouble making
up any story she wants. I am awestruck at the child's
unmitigated gull! I have to come to understand that
slander is her stock and trade.Gweneth really was the
perfect victim, foul personality, mixed history, has
talents on Tori's turf, and wouldn't kow-tow to the
monsterous ego of a spoiled brat.
Even in addition to Tori, I find myself having to play
parent, and introduce consquences for unethical
behavior here in amber. In return for the uninformed
assassination of a sibling, torriana's tirade,
violations of my privacy, and prisoner treatment
policies I veiw as criminal to the fallen of amber.
I will have to redirect half of the money I have
secured for the war effort to my national and personal
security (approx. 300 million!), I am withholding all
data I cleaned from Dante, not sharing the new weapon
designs, nor the new shapeshifter detection methods,
vastly reducing maximum possible troop commitment, and
classifying the zeppelin plans. These measures may
seem extreme, but then informing someone before
shooting their sibling is about as much ethical common
sense as not pissing on some one's plate from across
the table while they are eating. I will get worse if
gerhard can't enact some parental discipline for the
first time in his life. I hope I have induced him to
finally pull out the lash on his daughter, even if it
is a decade or so to late. I can't help but get misty
eyed at the distant possibility of justice in amber
Greetings Fellow Amberites,
Up until now my mother has requested anonymity. Recent events have made this impractical and she is now resigned to losing her privacy. She has asked that I make introductions to the family. Please do not disseminate this information outside the immediate family.
Rinaldo and I are the children of Brand and his wife Jasra of Kashfa, a member of the royal family there. Rinaldo and I are legitimate as our parents wed acccording to the laws of Kashfa (and Amber for that matter) prior to our births. Our home is not in Kashfa however. Jasra is the guardian of the Dark Well located nearest Amber in a shadow known as the Keep of the Four Worlds.
As traffic between Corwin's realm and Amber is only practicable through use of trump near the Dark Wells, Jasra has made arrangements to allow the family access to certain portions of the Keep. She requests that her location and security arrangements be kept confidential. Guest facilities will be available, though limited. Rinaldo and I would like to request that her solitude be respected as much as possible. If you have any questions regarding the arrangements, please contact either Rinaldo or myself.
It's my Family, and I'll pout if I want to...
Chock full o' angsty goodness!
Fineas - Amber
13 - Purgatory
Toriana - Corwin's Avallone
Jacob - Johrom (Par-tay)
Diego - Dom-Daniel
-Talks to Corwin about Trumps and Trump artist training for P.Vialle. Toriana
warns Vialle(2) about Diego, comparing him to Oedipus.
(and Toriana really, really believes this)
-She talks to them about Dworkin, Dworkin's Pattern, and Corwin's Pattern.
Plays with Corwin's sword.
-Toriana tries to get her trumps to contact Amber or Rebma, without success. Later, she finds out that it's possible to Trump from the immediate vicinity of one Dark Well to another.
-She asks Benedict if she can hold Werewindle. It has the feel of both Amber
and Rebma about it.
-Corwin's children (P.Douglas, P.Dierdre, and P.Vialle) decide to visit Amber and
Rebma with Tori.
-Meets in Dom-Daniel Happy-former-Kraken-Mountian with Q.Moire. Discuss' all
sorts of things. Does a poetry reading, and Shakespeare.
-Trumps Rinaldo and finds out about his investigation of shadow Louzon in
regards to Alexa. Rinaldo tells Diego that Alexa was a Gryphon spy.
-Is trumped by Fineas and talks about the same thing (Alexa), and gets a hint
about the murder of his Half-Brother Van Eyck. Demands to see the
-Diego's big "Date" with Q.Moire. Q.Moire really impressed with Diego's
"Fortress of Solitude". He invites her to his recruitment party in Vulnavia. He
Gives her his plans for the "Magi-coins" and the "Magi-coin Generator", and Mini
Drakkee love statues. Talks to her about Flora, Zhartra, Martin, and offers to
heal L.Vialle. Q.Moire tells him that this is L.Vialle's decision to make, since it is
believed that L.Vialle's lack of sight caused her heightened mental abilities
-Trumps Rinaldo and talks to him about Alexa.
-Trumps to Shandora and checks up on what is going on.
-Checks in with Bono and finds out what he is up to in Franc. Checks up on
Ingland and finds a good invasion point. Almost, got caught. Helps Bono conquer
Franc. Stays out of all fighting. On the plus side he has a very wet ass from all
the kissing he is receiving. Fineas does some research on the New World.
-Goes back to Amber and checks in with his Rebman friend Taran. The mobile
party is still going on.
-Gets everything together in Purgatory. Hands off the planning and operation to
Dara. Talks to SJG about the Village and gets the file on it's shadow. SJG also
give 13 easily disposable gold bars. SJG asks if 13 needs any support, and 13
decides that Sabine, Kirsten, and Zherevyev. SJG tells 13 that the Village is
guarded by a machine that can detect Pattern Tricks. They Track down the
Amber Contact in the Shadow surrounding the Village. He takes the gold but
complains a bit about it's lack of frequency. Gets plans of the Village and
profiles of the people running it. Captures Sir Geoffery Haigh-Smyth OBE VC
DSM and asks him about the head quarters of the place running the Village.
Haigh-Smyth spills his guts about Bleekly Place and the current #1. The Current
#1 is Named Sinjin "Bullroarer" Urqart, and he takes lunch every day at the
Toad and Squeak. He then Trumps Sir Geoffery Haigh-Smyth OBE VC DSM to
-Parties with Chumly, Flora and Tananda...Ends the night with Tananda. The
Party started off as a "Victory over the Jesby's" But quickly became the weird
-next morning he trumps fineas to talk about the victory in johrom. the two of
the also make plans to collect new remans. diego and his lack of motivation in
regards to tir tarngir also come up.
(used lower case because of jacob's hangover - shhh)
-Spends some time making trumps of the areas near the wells where trumps
-Zhartra makes it clear to Benedict, Corwin, Toriana, Douglas, Diedre, and Vialle
that she doesn't want to become a taxi service, so they had better come up with
a plan to get back and forth between Amber and Avallone. She also tells Toriana
that Greyswandier, and Werewindle were created with Dworkin's blood.
Hundreds of gallon's each.
-Corwin wants to capture the coltest Well-head and takes Tori and a few platoons and
heads out. Benedict and Corwin have a cultist-subduing
contest...Benedict wins on style points and numbers.
-Toriana lets Vialle watch her make a Trump, or at least part of the process: Vialle doesn't hang around for all the hours necessary. Afterwards she tells P.Vialle more evil things that Diego has done
(yes, she really, really believes these too).
-Quiz's Fineas some more about the "Cousins list". Remembers that he is on his
date with Moire and signs off.
-He Lavishes her with Gifts/bribes. They talk about possible deals with Houses'
Chanicut and Basilisk. Moire tells him how to protect against trump artist's in
his "Fortress of Solitude". He asks her what she knows about Corwin, Corwin's
children, and the fact that he thinks that somebody is spying on him. Moire
thanks him for his hospitality and trumps herself and her entourage back to
-Trumps back to Vulnavia and does some things with the Drakkee, Kylikki, and a
-Trumps Col. Sir Bors and has him bring him through to Amber. Goes to attic
and pilfers Corwin's belongings. Finds a few items worth taking and heads back
-Stops by to see how Galena is doing. She is currently taking Amber etiquette
class' and in desperate need of rescuing. Fineas takes her on an extended tour
of the Amber City and it's surroundings. Tells her which parts are known to be
dangerous, and explains about the Unicorn shrines and Amalathea. He also tells
her more about the pattern, and that if she wanted to take it that she would
need to build up her strength. Fineas makes plans for her to access to the
Amber workout facilities and a personal trainer.
-On the ride back to the Castle, Galena wants to know about the other women of
the family. Flora, Llewella, Dara, Toriana, and Morwyn. Galena tells him that she
wishes to meet with Flora. Fineas pens this into a note book, and will talk to
Flora at his earliest convenience.
-13 Captures Sinjin "Bullroarer" Urqart and shoots him in the shoulder to make
him stop making threats. Urqart is much more cooperative after this. Kirsten
quickly sits on Urqart's lap and licks the blood off of him (while doing her best
lolita imitation). 13 grabs Urqart's hand and takes all of the info on Bleekly
Place from Urqart's mind. He Trumps Urqart to the Foyer of Castle Amber
(BUDDA, BUDDA, BUDDA..). He circles back and picks up the women, and
proceeds to Bleekly Place. While there 13 goes through all of the files of all the
prisoners that are being held in the Village, and singles out those worth taking.
-Bleekly Place is a smoking heap when they leave for the Village. 13 is feeling
-It's a party...it's a party party...a party...a party party weekend. Booze.
Dancing. Jumping. Happy Johromese tossing/jumping. Tananda...a little bit
more Tananda. Hangover.......
-Riding...some more Riding....mmmm BEER...Riding...ohhh my head...shady trees and
plenty of water to drink.
-Trumps Fineas and they finalize their Remen plans. Jacob is to find a general in
an outpost town and claim to be the sole survivor of the "Fighting 9th army" (the
Remens that he currently has under his command).
-On the way into town he changes horses (sending the nice stripy one back to
Amber), and has his new one drag him for a mile down the road so he will look
the part he is to play. The plan is going swimmingly right up to the part when he
is trumped. He holds off long enough to vomit and fake passing out. The
Remens haul his body to the infermatorium.
-At Zhartra's well, conducts some more Trump experiments.
-Benedict trumps Toriana and brings along P.Douglas, P.Dierdre, and P.Vialle.
Benedict hellrides alone to the Borderlands taking both the stripey horses Toriana brought him. He Trumps Toriana and the Avalloneans through a day later. Toriana acquires the site.trumps all of them to the Chaosian Borderlands. Benedict trumps Gerard and
there is much brotherly happiness. Gerard pulls all of them through to Amber's gates. Introductions occur. Diego
is in the Castle at this point and hears about the Arrival of Corwin's other
-While getting the new guests situated, Tori Trumps Jacob and tells him about
Benedict, Corwin's kids, and hands him a set of Trumps of the Gryphon Pattern
-After the Trump call there is a big introduction of all the Family members.
Benedict, Gerard, P.Douglas, P.Dierdre, and P.Vialle. Soon after that Fineas,
Galena, Llewella, Flora, Martin, Morwyn and L.Vialle. It soon turns into a huge
Gala on the front steps and the entrance way to the Castle. Big harty guy hugs
-During the introductions slips off and goes down to the Dungeon to see what is
going on with the various Chaosian prisoners. She passes Diego on the stairway
and continues on. In the dungeon she is distressed to find that Dante was
missing. She asked Col. Sir Bors where he was and he told her that Prince Diego
had taken him three weeks ago to conduct experiments on him, this was of
course prior to Gerard's ban. Tori almost blew a gasket. She Trumped back
upstairs to the Foyer and started head back to the stairway to the Dungeon
looking for Diego. He had already made it to the Gala and was curtly greeting
the new comers. Tori headed back and made it just outside the Gate when she
saw Diego trump out in a guilty haste. She tracked him to Kelamon's quarters
and confronted him there about Dante, Prisoners in general, and everything else
that she thought about him. It didn't help much that Diego ignored her, and as
soon as Kelamon gave him the Trump card he had requested, He trumped out.
Fineas - A slip in time
-Fineas takes Galena to Meet Llewella. Galena and Llewella hit it off from the
start. Fineas is very impressed by Llewella.
-Fineas receives a trump call from Zhartra and goes through to her at Jasra's Keep. She gives him Werewindle. She repeats
her statement about how she does not wish to be the families Taxi service, and fills him in on the Wells as shortcuts to Corwin's realm. Jasra reluctantly concludes that going public and allowing some use of the Keep will be best. The finish up talking
about the Family in general, and the Gryphon's specifically.
-Meanwhile Diego is doing a drive by meet-and-greet, he sees Tori coming toward him
with a full head of steam.
BOOM BOOM BOOM I'm the Princess...the Princess of Amber BOOM BOOM
-Diego Trumps Kelamon. Tori Trumps Kelamon. Big cat fight. Tori confronts
Diego about his date with Moire (he has bad thoughts about his sister). More
-Diego trumps to Lirazel's (Tori's spy devices record the whole conversation)
and he asks her about Alexa, and her ability to avoid the Sniffers. Lirazel tells
Diego, as she had told Fineas and Rinaldo before him, that there are drugs that
will keep a shapeshifter stable in one form without being able to be detected.
Diego wants a sample. She tells him that she will do what she can to get three
samples of the drug. (it can be noted in Lirazels voice that she is weary of
repeating herself on the same subject, and wishes that the Amber Family would
just share amongst themselves any information that she provides)
-Diego goes back to Vulnavia and works on being able to smell shapeshifters. He
is angry that Fineas has not provided him with tissue samples from the Wier so
as to ease his training.
Fineas - back to normal
-Jazra confides to Fineas that she is not happy about the deal that she made
with Zhartra. Jazra still hates Blays and Caine, Though she is happy to hear of
their demise. He tests out Werewindle and is very happy with it. Werewindle
seems satisfied that Fineas is now its wielder.
-Fineas Trumps back to Amber (now caught up in the time line with Tori and
Diego) and greets Benedict, Martin, P.Douglas, P.Dierdre, and P.Vialle. Trumps
Jacob at the appointed time and Fineas tells Jacob about Martin and all the
other relatives that have just shown up on Amber's doorstep. Jacob and
Tanitheel switch places so Jacob can attend the Gala.
-13 Invades the Village. He confronts the current #2 and tells him that he (13)
in the new #1. And as the new #1 he is very disappointed in his work, and it
would be in everybodies best interest if he just resigned instead of being fired.
13 makes his point by handing #2 a pistol. #2 goes out side and caps himself.
-13 gathers everything worth taking and loads them up on some hidden lorries.
While this is being done he helps Sabine, Kirsten, and Zherevyev wire the Village
to explode upon their leaving. He gather up the hundred or so that are going to
be useful and has them load up on the lorries. 13 also packs up all the stuff on
and for the Rovers, the Rovers, the computer system, Drugs and other useful
-As the lorries make their way out into shadow, a bright orange glow is seen in
-Cleans himself up and joins in at the gala. Joins Fineas in talking to Benedict.
Witnesses Dara meeting her Father for the first time. He and Martin are very
bondy and decided that they need to get together later to talk. In a situation
parallelled later, He is upset that nobody in Rebma (especially Toriana, and
Diego) bothered to inform him of Martin's rescue from the Hendrake's. As a
humorous aside, Martin has spent the last four years as a giant lizard. They
exchange trumps, and Jacob puts Nelson in charge of taking care of Martin in
-Discusses the high crimes and misdemeanors of Diego with Gerard and is irritated to find that he classifies them all as the latter. He reminds her that there are things (a short list, but a list) a princess or prince of Amber should not do to one another lest the family come apart altogether. Some things he can't let slide, for anyone -- and Benedict won't.
-In a fit of anger boiling up from the pit of his bowls, he Trumps Gerard.
Gerard, steps aside at the Gala and takes the call. For what seems like hours
Diego lists a series of crimes that Gerard and the rest of the Family have
committed against Him, His sister, and Vulnavia.
The List of Crimes:
1.) Tori is out of control. She has no sympathy for the fact that Dante killed
one of his oldest friends. He also reiterates that Gerards position on being nice
to the Chaosians is wrong.
2.) Gerard needs to do a better job of controlling Tori. He also is a very, very
bad ruler and needs to do a better job reining in his out of control, Bastard,
Necromancy using, cowardly nephews.
3.) Nobody, even after asking several times, has shared with him anything about how the Weir are able to sniff out Shapeshifters. Nobody has told him about Alexa's ability to hide her Shapeshifting ability. It is also a crime against humanity that Lirazel, Chaosian Scum, is treated better then he is in Amber. "I like killing and experimenting on those damn scum, and I have no idea why you are making it so difficult."
4.) Somebody from Amber is spying on him and he wants it to Stop. If a
Chaosian Spy can be trusted in Amber, so can he.
5.) Jacob is a necromancy-using-crime-against-nature. He should be put down
for the good of Amber. It's Jacob's fault that Diego can't bring in his
Mupangobwe troops to use against Tir Tarngir. More than likely Jacob was
sexually abused as a child. Jacob held a gun on his sister without being punished
for it. This is probably because of Gerard's lax upbringing of Toriana.
6.) Because of Toriana's meddling at Tir Tarngir, He no longer feels wanted. If
Gerard didn't want his help, he should have said so before he raised tons of
money and 150,000 troops. 13 is a coward and not worthy of the gift of Pattern.
13 abandoned his duty at the second battle of Tir Tarngir, and received no
punishment for it.
7.) Gerard lets his nobles run roughshod over him. Gerard signed contracts with
him, and has yet to fulfill them. One of the Treaties stated that Diego had
first right of duel in regards to members of his Family, his Blood. Fineas and
Flora have been turned loose on members of his Family, and killed at least one of them. Van Eych was his dog to put down, NOT Fineas'.
8.) Also, by treaty it was his responsibility to deal with all things Corwin.
Deigo is infuriated that Gerard calls upon him to acknowledge the bonds of kinship, while hypocritically failing to acknowledge them (aka keeping him informed). he is also aware of people's feelings towards corwin, the holding of his sister at gunpoint, and the secret assassination of a sibling.
9.) The crimes that Gerard perpetrated against him started when Gerard sent
Flora to Vulnavia as his Ambassador.
10.) Random ravings tieing all of the above together. I, as your humble log
keeper, cannot do them justice.
Gerard responds in calm cool voice, rebuking all of Diego's claims...and not
popping his head like a zit.
-Martin and Dara have problems with each other. This is due to the fact that
Dara convinced Martin to surrender to the Hendrake's at Patternfall.
-Fineas and Martin shake hnads and make up.
-Fineas meets Benedict and they really hit it off. They talk about the Family,
Zhartra, the Gryphon's, Werewindle and Tir Tarngir. Benedict mentions in front
of Jacob and Fineas about all of his blood that Zhartra had drawn out of him
and powdered so that he can make his own weapon. A small one. Fineas tells Benedict that
both Jacob and 13 are very good with blood magic.
-Some more good bonding time with Martin. Some more serious drinking. Probes
Benedict about how the Gryphon's were able to find out about Avalon. Benedict
explained to Jacob how Logrus works and speculates that a friendly probability-controller could have made it much more successful.
-On the road to Qweentow 13 notices that some hawks are following the caravan.
He shifts a shadow, and the are able to catch up. He pulls out a STEN and
shoots one. They disappear, but soon come back. Kirsten, and Zherevyev are
able to Vamp wound one, and they track it into a forest. 13 Follows. He sees
them running back toward the Caravan, when Kirsten is hit in rapid succession by
five arrows, pinning her to a tree. 13 fires several bursts of fire in the
direction where the arrows came from and his gun jams--- Pattern. He is confronted by a blond woman with
a bow. She demanded to know who he was. 13 thought about it and replied "I
am #1, though is was known as #1". She told him that if this was true she would
kill him where he stood. 13 replied, that now that she knew who he was, he
demanded to know who she was. Zherevyev came back and 13 removed the
arrows from Kirsten, and handed her off to be taken to Lynxia. The Woman,
watching this, tossed him a trump card and replied that she was Mirelle, his
mother. 13 was very angry about this and was hoping that his STEN still worked.
Jacob asked Morwyn how she found out about the impalements and all just hours after it happened, despite extremely limited opportunities to contact any of the participants. Morwyn said she'd been briefed just a couple of hours before the Komarra incident but didn't know where the info came from. She made some calls. The Rebman agent in Hunac who reported the incident says he didn't. He's being checked over for altered memories. Morwyn and the Rebman Secret Service are pissed off, but not at Jacob.
Jacob - Drunk, at the Gala in Amber Castle
Toriana - Unknown - SECRET STUFF
13 - In shadow Purgatory on the road to Qweentow
Fineas - At the Gala in Amber Castle
Diego - Brooding, in Vulnavia.
All good words. The fact that Sabine was right is a tad unsettling, but I'll get used to it.
So this is real. All of it. Sabine is real. The Village is real. The actuality that I am some sort of super human. All of it is real. The fact that the Village was some sort of Prison that my Mother dropped me off at. The sign out side the gate must have said "Free Daycare" or some such thing like that, And she just wondered off and forgot where she left me. This last bit is important, but we will get back to that later.
It is freeing in a strange way, similar to the time that #2 told me that "He was not our Babysitter". This was not the Village, where everything you did and said was watched and recorded. At the point that #2 uttered those words I knew that I could go out and do anything I wanted, in any way that I would feel comfortable about (within reason, of course). I could deal with my cousins in a manner that would profit me the most (again, within reason). If Toriana were to refer to me now as Reese…pow right cross to the jaw. It is a good thing not to have Babysitters.
But back to REAL. Sabine, Kirsten, Zherevyev, Badger, Gertruda, and Jurgan…all real.
Toriana - Real. Arrrgghh. Start smaller, less scary.
Amber - real. Ok, that works.
Diego - Real. Just as scary as Toriana.
Rebma - Real. That’s just plain wrong.
Clackers - Real. As in real tasty! Grin…snort…I crack me up.
They can all really die (as well as me). No reset - Game Over. This is now both a gift and a curse.
Freedom is another good word.
Freedom from the Tyranny.
The Tyranny of the Village.
This is not a computer program designed to test my loyalty. I am free to really do what I want to do. The lessons of paranoia well serve me well, but now I have the Freedom not to have it be the driving force behind my decisions.
The Babysitter is dead.
This is another good word.
I felt great satisfaction when I handed the Village #2 a Walther and told him.
"I'm the new #1, and it would be much easier for everyone concerned if you resigned instead of having to be fired"
He left the room and a muffled pop was soon heard from outside.
Another Satisfying sight was when the Village headed for the sky in a big orange glowing cloud. Kind of a two sunrises vision. I love the smell of cordite in the morning.
But right now is a bit different.
A woman who claims to be my mother is standing 100m away from me holding a bow. She has managed to keep my guns from firing, and has pinned Kirsten to a tree with 5 well aimed shots. She calls herself Mirelle and thinks that this is a good time for the mother and child reunion. I have managed to unpin Kirsten from the tree and gently hand her to Zherevyev so that they can go to Lynxia. The one claiming to be a mother has tossed a Card to me, and has challenged my legitimacy.
Where is Sabine anyway. Think woman, think. Gun shots, coming from where I am. And yes, I did shoot at Mirelle. If you try and kill my people you should expect to be fired upon in kind. That’s why my STEN doesn't work right now.
It is time for explinations. And yelling. Damn I wished STEN would fire...
"Prince 13 wins in a victory over House Hellgram in shadow Limbo"
"With help from Prince Jacob, Flora takes Johrom from House Jesby"
"Regent Gerard treats unexpected guests to Family Gala"
"Regent Gerard leads the Family in Victory over the Gryphon's in Avalon"
"The return of Prince Benedict Bodes I'll for the remaining Choasian invaders"
"Are Princes' Fineas and Rinaldo the Love Children of the villain Brand?"
"Regent Gerard Retakes Avalon from Gryphon Invaders"
"Galena takes a tour of Amber City"
"Family trifacta in Victories of the Hellgram's, Gryphon's, and Jesby's"
"New members of the Royal Family - Douglas, Vialle, Dierdre, and Galena"
"Prince Martin returned in Rebman prisoner exchange"
"Prince Benedict Lives!"
"A cloud of Mystery surrounds Alexa's disappearance"
"Princes' Rinaldo and Diego caught in Alexa dust up"
"Dust up or Cover up - What really happened to Alexa"
"Caridwen suspects that Prince Diego may have taken Alexa to Dom-Daniel love nest in a fit of Jealousy"
"Will Prince Martin take up where his Father left off?"
The Herald Unicorn
"A printed apology to HRH Morwyn and Princess Toriana"
"Unsubstantiated Rumors of an Amber Prince stripping for money in Rebma under the Stage Name "Sir Swordfish".
"Prince Diego causes uproar when he opens a Conjury school in Dom-Daniel"
"Prince Fineas Continues his winning ways in Avalon"
"Prince Fineas shows Galena the sites in tour of Amber City"
"Prince Fineas brings honor to his new acquisition - Werewindle"
"Prince Fineas Rallies the Family in defense of Avalon"
"The Saviors of Amber: Princes' Benedict and Fineas discuss war Strategy"
"Will Prince Fineas Clear his Brothers name in the Alexa Affair?"
"Rebma pulls off a coup with the return of Martin"
"Prince Diego and Princess Toriana in tiff at Reception for Benedict and Corwin's Children"
"What Prince Fineas did in Limbo to help Prince 13 defeat the Hellgrams"
"Prince Jacob brings "Earth-shattering Kaboom" in victory over the Jesby's"
The Shipping News
"Trade with shadow worlds nearing pre Patternfall levels"
"Trade with Vulnavia dropping as tensions mount"
"Prince Diego heals the war wounded in Lynxia"
"In Defense of Competition - Prince Diego opens School for Conjuration in Dom-Daniel"
"Princess Toriana Finds and Rescues Prince Benedict"
"Prince Diego instrumental in Return of Martin"
"Is the Regents policies Driving Vulnavian trade to Rebma"
"Are Prince Diego and Princess Toriana the only ethical and competent members of their Generation?"
"Gerard's Calm Cool leadership style brings prosperity to Amber and the Golden Circle Kingdoms"
"The possible return to normal in Johrom fuels speculation in as to which Noble house is going to get the Royal Trade Charter"
"Prince Jacob brings swift victory in Johrom"
"Prince 13 Clears Limbo of Hellgram's"
"An interview with Glencora, the Good Witch of Limbo"
"Prince 13 Shares the wholesome earthy goodness of Lynxia with the Gaian Mage's of Limbo"
"Who is in charge of the Gryphon front - One Noble voices her concern"
"The Return of Princes' Benedict and Martin - A Royal shocker"
"An easy users guide to the indexing globes of Tir Tarngir"
"An Ode to Prince Benedict"
"12 Haiku's in praise of the Royal Family"
The Royal Way
"The return to the old days - Benedict, Flora, and Llewella remind us of the Glory days of Amber"
"Is Prince Diego the new Corwin? Rude, Brash, Glory hound, Megalomaniac, and looking for an Eric"
"Princess Llewella shares her thoughts and appreciation of Prince Diego's curative powers"
To The Regent and Benedict
A matter of some sensitivity has come up that requires your attention. During our withdrawal from the Tir Tarngir expedition, I took the initiative of leaving a letter addressed to Marcus of House Gryphon offering sanctuary to the Pattern initiates amongst them. I wanted to leave an opening to salvage that portion of the family, knowing someone would eventually be needed to rule the Tir. It appears we may have that opportunity after all. I have received a reply of sorts, delivered via Zhartra last night. The text is as follows:
I do desire a peaceful accommodation with Amber and I am not alone among my siblings in this sentiment. The elders of House Gryphon do not agree. Their wishes will soon be irrelevant in regards to Tir Tarngir if events proceed as planned. I ask you to exert your influence and delay any provocative moves in this direction for two weeks. This is not a good time for distractions or for moving people out of position.
We intend to have what Amber has, a rich, strong and independent trading empire across a region of shadow. We will not be part of Gryphon and they will not be part of us. Amber's current relationship with Rebma would serve admirably as a model for our future dealings with Amber and Rebma.
Savaton is important to us.
I understand that it may be possible to make a trump of sister Vayla. Contact might be useful.
Marcus of Tir Tarngir
As you can see, this affords some interesting possibilities if true. The sensitivity comes in when deciding how much of this to share with Rebma and how to prevent chaosian spies from getting advance warning of the coup and providing information to the Gryphon elders.
I can only assume similar feelers will be sent to Queen Moire. In my opinion we should broach the subject with her first if we can. I would normally suggest putting Diego's apparent relationship with her to work in this regard, but his irrational attitude towards Marcus & company makes this problematical. I therefore offer my services to contact the Queen, either through Morwyn or directly and make her aware of the situation.
In the meantime, offensive action towards the Tir should be delayed or cancelled if possible. Preparations should still continue (it would look suspicious if they stopped altogether), but those in charge of that front should be diverted with other tasks if necessary to accomplish the delay without raising suspicion. I leave it to your judgment to decide who else should be made aware of this. My preference would be to keep it between the three of us for now. If Marcus is to succeed, there must be no leak from our side.
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
Day 39 PDS 9:30AM :
While I waited on Jacob to contact me to visit the Reman home shadow, I decided to make the rounds and check on my various interests. First stop was to visit the samurai and dragoons. All is well there though I will need to find them a little light action soon to keep them sharp. Then I checked in with Bono to see how his plans are coming along.
It is obvious that some of the Amber mannerisms and customs have rubbed off on him. He seems to be exuding a more confident manner with less ostentatious display. He is also ready for the final conquest of Franc and Britane and needs my assistance with some troop movements. I agreed readily of course. His good will is vital to my plan to recruit medium technology troops in the future. I plan on a rotation system similar to what I have implemented with the samurai. Recruit a few thousand at a time, train the crap out of them while using them for my current campaigns, then send them home much richer to spread the good word about service to Amber.
Day 41 PDS 11:30AM:
I spent the last few days moving the troops Bono needed to finish his consolidation of Franc. I also paid a covert visit to the shores of Britane to scout out the invasion sites near Lundun. Towards the end, some of their agents tried to tail me so I led them to a loyalist noble's manor before giving them the slip. Nothing like sowing distrust and discord amongst one's enemies for a lively afternoon.
Bono will not need me for about a week while he makes final preparations so I have time to check up on Galina and see how she is doing.
Day 42 PDS 8:30PM:
I have had a very busy day. I checked in on Galina and took her on a personal tour of the realm, concentrating on the city at first but making sure she learns about the unicorn. She could feel something at the shrines I showed her and the discussion turned to Amalthea. I wasn't sure how best to explain that one so I took her to the library and showed her pictures of Amalthea in human form. I explained shapeshifting as well as I could, asking a swanmay to demonstrate. The light of belief is slowly taking form in her eyes.
We discussed her taking the Pattern. I tested her psychically and estimated her strength and will as best I could. In my opinion she would survive right now, but to increase the odds I recommended a regimen of exercise for a while before making the attempt. I asked her if she wished to meet more of the family. She was eager and chose Flora as her first contact. I trumped Flora, who was finishing an inspection of one of her zeppelins. She seemed pleased to meet Galena and joined us immediately. Flora was a bit filthy from crawling around in grease coated areas, but she wanted Galena to see that "at least some of the family are not afraid to do actual work". I had to smile to myself at her comment. She certainly is working to shed the bubble headed blonde persona she was forced to cultivate in the past. Good for her.
I left Flora and Galena to their privacy. Some things a man is just not meant to hear.
I trumped Count Taran to see how the shadow hopping was going and to make apologies for my absence. He and his guests were involved in some high speed boat racing today. Not my cup of tea. We discussed future revels and it sounds like the more interesting stops are still to come. I told him I hoped to join him soon but had a few affairs of state to attend to first. He seemed OK with that so I left him to his racing.
The next trump was to Diego. He is starting to look like hell, even darker circles beneath his eyes than usual. I gave him a quick rundown on the Alexa situation, told him what I knew of the shapeshift inhibiting drug and recommended a round of physical inspections for all who had contact with her. He agreed but seemed somewhat preoccupied. He asked me about the bastard list so I invited him to meet me to go over it. It was not something I wanted to do over trump. He seemed to lose interest suddenly. I hope he is not cracking. The man seems entirely too fragile for a member of the royal family but he is the best we have at what he does.
Enough time passed that I checked in on Flora and Galena. They were finishing lunch and were about to head off to meet Llewella. I was wanting to meet her myself so I imposed upon them to allow me to join the for that portion of their afternoon plans. They politely agreed so I joined them and soon we were off to Rebma. Once in Rebma, Jacob finally contacted me letting me know he was near the site he had recruited his Remans from. I asked if he could delay my joining him for a while and he agreed. He was going to find a city where we could learn more about them and where best to get more troops. I told him I would trump him as soon as I was free.
Llewella seems a wonderful lady. I felt a strange pride that a relation of mine could rebound so well from the atrocities performed on her. I spent a delightful afternoon getting to know her but was finally interrupted by another trump call. This one was from Zhartra. She asked to meet with me about the exposure of the Keep and what mother wanted to do about it. I made my apologies to Llewella and explained who wanted to meet with me. I promised to let her know what transpired as soon as I could.
At home, Zhartra met with me and explained that Benedict had been released, Corwin had been found and contacted along with his three children and as a result, Mother's ownership of the Well was now suspected. We discussed what to do. I recommended that Mother make herself known and make adjustments to the security of the Keep. After a while, that was agreed upon and I was tasked to make the necessary introductions in Amber. I was also presented with Werewindle. Zhartra had been true to her word and I intend to be true to mine. If I can assist her in dealing with the horrible nasties from the abyss, I will do so to the best of my ability.
Werewindle is much more than I suspected. It is intelligent in its own right. I am told it was constructed from Dworkin's blood, a great deal of it in fact. It seems to be able to judge the worthiness of its wielder in terms of loyalty to the Pattern and Amber. It expressed regret that my father, who had started out worthy, had slipped into madness and became manifestly unworthy. It accepted me as its new wielder for which I am thankful. When I hold it, it feels as though another lobe of my mind comes into existence. I will need to research it carefully to find out its potential.
I returned to Amber in time to greet the newly liberated Benedict as well as Corwin's three children Douglas, Dierdre and Vialle. Also present was a recovering Martin. I contacted Jacob and arranged to pull him in to meet his brother while having Tanitheel keep his place in shadow. My cousins seem like decent folks so far. Much more stable than Diego. I guess Corwin finally decided to act like a father and the difference shows. Diego and Tori seemed to be having some disagreement and soon both disappeared from the get together. A short while later, Gerard was called away to deal with someone's hissyfit via trump. I am not sure if it was Tori or Diego. From what little I overheard, I suspect it was Diego. Gerard soon rejoined us and was obviously exasperated. I did not query him on the problem.
I spoke with Martin a bit and offered my apologies for my father's actions. He seemed to not hold a grudge against Rinaldo and I. I look forward to getting to know him better in the coming days. Douglas is obviously a chip off the old block. Personable and quietly confident, I don't think I would care to test him with a sword. Dierdre seems the more rebellious daughter. In some ways she reminds me of Tori, in others Morwyn. She should be an interesting relation. Vialle is the quiet scary one. Way too perceptive for comfort. We definitely need to keep on her good side from my initial impression.
The highlight of the reunion in my eyes was finally meeting Uncle Benedict. He is more impressive than I had begun to imagine, and not just in the martial sense. Somehow I need to convince him to take the throne of Amber. No one else is suited. He is the only one of us universally respected. This is not going to be easy.
Finally, about an hour ago I got one more trump from Zhartra. She handed me a letter. I immediately knew it was from Marcus of House Gryphon. I opened it and read his plea. This will bear some thought. I will need to get Benedict and Gerard alone to discuss this as soon as the reunion is done.
Necromantic Taint is a sort of meta-magical effect that acts a bit like radioactive fallout. It poisons the area on a magical level and makes it more conducive to further necromantic effects, and less conducive to life/fertility/happy magic. Shandoria City is tainted, along with some other spots, and mucht of the world the Hendrakes came to S. Shandoria from is a tainted wasteland. If there's enough of it, and especially if the human population is mostly driven out or killed, it spreads. Necro tainted regions are also something like northern Scandinavia in that the people there are prone to depression.
Just being in a NT area will stain a normal person's aura for a while. Doing necromantic magic makes for more stain. It isn't permanent, unless the person is overwhelmed and goes nuts. ("Here's Johnny!") The greater your arcane power, the more resistant your aura is to stain and you are to the insanity, and the faster you purge the stain. Pattern provides the greatest resistance, BP less and Magic less than that. Stain/Taint isn't a measure of Evil or Uncleanliness but most live creatures feel like it is.
So the Remans' stain has cleared by now.
Derkon always has some because he works with it regularly. (As I recall, he's now a BP initiate and so clears up faster.) He's 3/4 of the way to his original stain level now.
13 has done little bits of necromancy but hangs out with vampires and always has some stain -- as do Sabine, Badger, Baran, etc. (Though it cleared up temporarily from being around the Glencoran gaian-mages.)
The vamps radiate it all the time, though Genevieve radiates less despite having more power than most. She has more control.
Jacob's massive exposure in a NT shadow stained his aura Dark but it has faded over the weeks and is now just a light stain. (It's cleared up faster since he took up with Tananda. There are no rituals involved and she's no Gaian but happy-sex [as opposed to predatory or manipulative or sadistic sex] does help to drive out the NT.) He should clear up entirely pretty soon.
Life/Gaian/ benign Tantric magicks can drive taint and stain out of areas or people.
If Shandoria City is to be repopulated it needs to be cleared of NT, and what native mages the shadow has are not up to the task.
Early thursday afternoon...
As I sit in anticipation of queen moire's arrival, I am observing some fish swim by. it strikes me that Rebman mating practices might be based on the observation of marine life, where as most other places are based upon the observation of land mammals. this would explain matriarchy, and perhaps even a desire for transitory relationships. I wish it was exclusively based on a simple biological model, because I doubt there is a Rebman male who could equal the pyrotechnics of my well studied bioluminescent mating display.
The battle with the gryphons was another easy victory, too easy. I think it was all arranged by the queen of gas and blindness to test us, and give us a false sense of kinship while furthering her own aims. given the report of our previous with her encounter I could also suspect subterfuge with Fineas so ready to cozy up to the bitch. Birds of a feather...
I have been neglecting my correspondence ... best to catch up.
dear king krullungou (Mapungubwe)
to use your turn of phrase...
Amber... "that foul coven of necromancers and assassins dredged up from gutters unfathomable", has yet again given me pause. You were wise to recall your ambassadors, and withhold further troop support. I do continue to increasingly regret my decision to join this clan, to the limited extent I had a choice. I hope our people can stand strong together if things get worse. I think you already know to be prepared for worse. Please forgive me if I rant a little, as I suspect you can temper my dire need for therapy with your knowledge of my general character, having known me since I was eight years old.
I have reason to suspect Gerhard has begun to act in the base and deceptive manner of his sister, and I hope to gain confirmation from the queen. I have been spending intermittent hours running back, and forth over the possibilities in my head. My restlessness was very frustrating to Kylikki, until I gave myself night vision, and began writing with a special ink. Given what little I know of Corwin it seems unlikely that shadow would fail to be victimized by legions of his unwitting offspring. What made gerhard hesitate, and be more patronizing then usual?
The fact that Fineas was involved is troubling, but then he has been neglectful in fulfilling his promises, he was also angry about my loaning rebma a library index. I pay for my troops, and gerhard hasn't contributed a dime, nor do I recall Amber offering to pay for the damage done by the foulness of it’s initial ambassador. I pay, when the others don't, and yet they still manage to find fault with the disposing of my booty. I know Fineas didn't refuse the aid the globe earned us in battle. They don’t like the way I treat chaosites, but yet they want me to negotiate with them!
After talking to Moire, and hearing the name of Whora, All I can think is that there is a erstwhile sibling out there of mine, and I doubt he has fouled creation as much as prince Jacob (is that possible?). Maybe he/she had to go, maybe she/he didn't. It is almost immaterial, what matters is what I see around me. I see the feelings people have towards my curse and lamentable sperm donor, Corwin. I have seen a gun pointed at my sister, and I have reason to suspect that a sibling was cut down without the honor of a duel. What matters is respect. What matters is being informed. What matters is me believing there is someone in charge who will be a little aggressive about pulling daggers out of my back. I have given up hope of gerhard being proactive about anything.
Also fueling this unsettling speculation is the fact that I have been observing my cousins, and as a result have had to up my estimates of the damage not having a respectable father figure can cause. This makes the likely hood of the missing sibling being a sociopath even greater. If Gerhard can't see his hypocrisy of liberally calling upon the bonds of kinship, while killing my limited family in cold blood, he should recognize that, like Moire says, it was my dog to put down. I don't know what to do, and how to pursue the right course of action, but this does change everything. EVERYTHING.
The family kept the magic coins secret until a 2 mile explosion blew the lid off, and those could have been a great help in my battles. I suspect the universe can't take all the 2 mile explosions I need in order to drive the required skeletons out of the family closets, nor for me to feel safe again. This whole situation is like being a feeble parent to a mighty and temperamental god . I keep feeling like I need to introduce consequences for behavior that is so clearly unacceptable, when the child constantly expects to be indulged at every turn, shooting lightning bolts out of it's finger tips while it cries for lollipops, and sweets.
I doubt Dworkin could have accomplished what he did with all the gutter sniping and intrigue I have to deal with. I find myself curious, and more then a little impressed by the scope, and inventiveness of the man's original vision. If I had to chose one of the progenitors to venerate, he would be it. I could never forgive Oberon for what he did to Moire.
I understand that given the breadth, as well as the scope of our powers, even a whole universe can become too small, and this one shrinks for me by the day. I don't doubt things have turned away from what he would have wanted them to be. Dworkin would have understood the value of my work,. he would not of allowed narcissism and cowardice to get in the way of science. it is because of these damn restrictions, I can't do what I need to do. my old friend and researcher, Filippe, would still be alive if I wasn't research emasculated. I would have more theories confirmed, and we would all be much further down the road to winning this war. I have lost eight friends to the conflict, while I have gained enemies by the score. I have visions of the chaosites being fed hand-marbled veal while gerhard sends them flowers, and has the village women lactate for their drink. Oh dear god, I sense the view of chaos is increasingly... let's all be friends, let's all use the same tactics, let's have a picnic before we sodomize the whole of creation together, then go interbreed so our offspring can have no sense of guilt at all !! Gerhard has spent more time addressing the treatment of prisoners then he has insuring communication amongst his team, or that anyone is treated with respect. It is a profound policy of failure, if I have ever seen one.
I will be visiting you soon to make sense of all this.
your friend always - D-
I met with reverend jones (yes, the same one who married us), and he had some photos from my 341st birthday party. he had taken on his old kodak one, and found them in an old box he had recently uncovered. that was my last celebration with you, Jacob, and Eli. Next week I turn 352. If you were to place a candle every half inch the cake would have to be 2.465 by 3.424 feet. the past few years I haven't done anything to mark the occasion, it didn't mean much without taking the boys on our traditional day out. This time the past 3 months have seemed like 50 years, so I am overdue.
You should know there is some one I would very much like to celebrate it with. I guess a have a soft spot for women people refer to as "cast iron bitches". I remember how mad that phrase made you, and how painfully accurate it was during our first date. We really got out of that didn't we. You were that happiest decade of my life, and even if I can again claim half the happiness we had, I have to try.
I can tell you a little about her. I hope you know I wouldn't be introducing to just any one. she is elitist, shrewd, far more political then you ever were (not always a good thing), and most importantly she makes me melt like butter in a blast furnace. It took a decade, and a queen that reminds me of you in an eery number of ways, to get me to take off our ring (I still keep it around my neck). I hope you are flattered, beautiful. Your memory will always be sacred. To a large degree when I made my unfortunate agreement with Amber, it was to Honor and avenge you. what they did to you and the boys will never be forgotten.
No one really has fully understood the significance of a surgeon mutilating his hands just to get attention of a woman, and the depth of feeling that requires, but then no one in this sad company is allied with the forces of creation. they are all creatures of destruction, and will leave a sad legacy. For the first time in 330 years I find myself having to take customized potions to keep from shifting in response to her. In the immortal words of our favorite Fats Waller record.. "I got it bad, and that ain’t good."
(and here the queen comes - I invited her to My mountain fortress in Dom half way hoping that the queen of air and darkness would show up when Moire was away from her native protections, and I could at least have some mechanism to prove myself, or at least get some sort of reprieve from this over powering longing, but no such luck.)
the meeting went fairly well, and I only got lost in her eyes for a second, and recovered well.
I am hoping to meet the new recruit (or should I say victim and prisoner). I am trying to consider how much of the truth to tell the fresh meat. I will have to temper it too much to my taste, but I do have a clear ethical mandate to put her on her toes. In order to best refine what I can tell her, I should do my best to take an account of things as I see them first...
Fineas.. most likely a traitor with a moral backbone of string cheese. he will turn on me (and possibly already has ) before he turns on amber. hopefully vanity can be manipulated to give him a functional psuedo-ethos until the war is over. - not to be trusted at all. the potentially the most dangerous.
Reese.. has the naive dream that he can be an iconoclast in these times. I suspect he has the background of a thief from the way the traps on tir were set. he seemed to be agitated by my shamans, which means he also might traffic in necromancy-not to be trusted, unlikely to start conflict “directly”.
jacob normally tolerable, but is subject to schizophrenic bursts of criminal dementia whenever his sense of authority is threatened. It has happened 3 times. I suspect the most likely cause was violent child molestation that imprinted a violent reaction on his sub-concious that is triggerable by any sense of condescension or helplessness . This would also explain the extreme measures he goes to to eliminate cognitive dissonance. not to be trusted, and bring restraints
Dara- I doubt she understands how difficult it was for me to show her the kindness that I did, and now that she has betrayed it by her campaign to treat the enemy with the respect they have never shown us, things have changed. not suprising given her heritage. it was good of gerhard to open the subject of our treatment of prisoners up for a vote, but democracy only works when you haven’t recruited your constituency directly from bedlam, and the doorstep of chaos.
Torianna - she can be extremely patronizing, and spoiled, but hopefully she can be salvaged if she doesn’t spend too much time with the far blacker souls her father scraped up from the bottom of the barrel. my greatest fear is that she merges with whora to become an evil two headed serpent simply known as “whoriana”. I am reminded of the tale from Aztec folk lore about a 2 headed serpent who was slain by warriors after they discovered it was vain. They immobilized it by placing a mirror in front of one head, to largely immobilize the half the body, whilst a brother cut off the opposing head. I am going to try and be nicer to her, but it may be painful. the day may come when I have to slice of the tyrannical yet capricious id that may grow to be her other half. all things considered, torriana being a diva on the edge of tolerance is preferable to the criminal insanity offered elsewhere.
whora - I can’t add to what I have done to detail the depths of my loathing so far here, save to add a new whora statistic. Given an estimation of her life span, and feeble character I have determined it is likely she has spent at least 1.346 human lifetimes awake, but on her back.
upon consideration of my assorted objectives, I have decided to group them into three related categories Moire, personal safety/contingency planning, and military. I will then assign a point based rating to each task in each category, and a priority point rating to each category in order to determine a rough order of completion. Observers might note that the defense of amber is not included as a primary item on this list. I rank it as what happens when my personal security needs are supported, and as a sub-function of the military classification. I have a growing suspicion that chaos is not the near term threat to my welfare that amber is becoming. When amber meets my needs, I will function better for it. based upon what I stated in my letter to king krullungou, I think I have numerous reasons to be concerned for my welfare.
Still I must admit that the sense of confinement I have been experiencing does awaken my more base appetites.. witness kylikki. One of the happier aspects I allow myself to speculate on in odd moments is that of vicarious propagation. I would have unique ability to do it. Once as a dare I was able to convert my form to 47.235 percent reproductive tissue mass. I wonder how much the confinement of our prisoners has effected the far greater appetites their demonic heritage has cursed them with.
Yet an even more unsettling tale of aroused appetite arises, in the Form of Robert Whitford. He was a dashing all american football hero, who lost control of everything below the neck in an accident. His new wife left him after cruelly mocking his new disability. After receiving a letter from a colleague at the Pennsylvania Home for the severely handicapped, I decided I would fly him out at my own expense to restore the use of his limbs. There was an enormous amount of anger in him even after he was healed. Rev. Jones tried to help him, but he could never trust or care for anyone again. One night he escaped. He assaulted, and raped one of my war widows, along with her 12 year old daughter, after she refused his advances, as a natural part of her grieving. Poor Mr. Whitford, in his anger he forgot the most important law of nature here in Vulnavia....
NO ONE MESSES WITH MY PEOPLE
Ms. Sherman was able to settle things with the Americans quietly and quickly given the mountain of evidence, and her considerable persuasive skills. I was able to calm the widow with a fund for the care of her child, personal attention, and top shelf medical treatment. Poor Mr. whitford found his way to absolution in the gas chamber.. or so he thought. Vulnavian law gives me the power to choose the method of death, so the gas chamber just places people in a death like state, and they are then spirited away for revival in a place from where there is no escape. This is hardly a commercial endeavor as the death penalty is seldom enacted. Unfortunately even my more aggressive direct neural therapies have not been a boon to Mr. Whitford (and this is a first). He has been working out (he has been compelled to), and has a fine physique. I recent engaged him in a game of chinese checkers, to better understand the psychology of my cousins, and his still lacking social skills earned him 2 broken arms. I rather think the first literal Vulnavian/amber prisoner exchange is in order. I think the female chaosite murderess in the dungeons might propose an interesting and informative exchange for a more biblical one. I don’t care what happens to the rapist. I have seen the lust in her eyes, and her evil nature. Hopefully Mr. Whitford will contribute something worthwhile to humanity after all. I will handle it discreetly, as not to hurt prince Reese’s feelings. People would be comforted to know of I do have an element of concern for our noble regent’s esteemed house guests.
Messing with my people.. that brings us back to the unhappy subject of Amber doesn’t it ? it looks like I will have to wait for this inspired coupling to occur. I can’t beleive they are treating someone who killed so many of our own so well.
First off I must say that I take it back. Torriana is as insane as the rest of them.
she calls me a traitor, I am the traitor that has given eight friends, five thousand troops, and millions of dollars to successful battles. I am the traitor who has healed hundreds while others run off to get drunk. I am the traitor that has moved in excess of 150,000 people to at least partially contribute to the war effort. I am the traitor who has taken the greatest steps to inform the public about the dangers of chaos. What is a traitor? What is the recipe that can create them? I suspect it is as follows.
4 table spoons weak moral fiber
1 cup of whora
1 pint of neglect
a dash of idiot regent
6 cups mass necromancy
a teaspoon of spoiled brat
one sibling assassination
at least one chaosite bitch
show no respect, or support, then place in the oven during a chaos war for a few months, sprinkle with god-complexes, and serve warm.
Amber threw everything in the bowl,and followed all the directions save my lack of moral fiber, because it wasn’t in the cupboard. I am not a man that traffics in moral ambiguity, the currency of amber, but contrition is required for the greater welfare. I will continue to be close to rebma, because rebma works. they do what they say they are going to do, they offer me friendship, and they treat me with respect. Amber is in default on all counts. I just pray Rebma isn’t populated with necromancers and assassins as well. Morwyn has access to several vital trumps points. I can place faith in them to a much greater degree then I can in Amber based on observed behavior. I need people I can depend on to get the job done.
Gerhard’s daughter who clearly lacked a strong father figure around growing up, and that fact coupled with a suspected willingness to shoot a sibling of mine in cold blood, prove Gerhard is clearly his father's son. My father used to say that you should never enrage an idiot, because they can uniquely single minded in your destruction, and often fail to take into account the consequences of rash action. I just can't figure out whether Gerhard is an idiot, or a victim of mild stroke-like brain damage from Oberon holding him under the water to long.
I sensed the worst, I got the worst. I have dead brother. Not suprisingly he was bastard, who was bastard, who was killed in cold blood.
I trumped gerhard, I blew up. I got some control and tried to sense where his limits of tolerance were in relation to the the amount of chastising and insuring of accountability that needed to be done. Unfortunately the gulf between the 2 was greater then anticipated. He gave a fair account of himself, when I finally committed to taking him to task for his criminal neglect in a great many areas (for a man-ape that can barely cobble together a sentence). I still am filled with rebuttals that should never be said, or at least spaced out over years, if I live that long.
Who will carry your casket is a hard question to ask yourself when you don’t have an immediate answer. Today I went to The funeral for the researcher slain in Dante’s last fit of rage. I was able to speak with difficulty. we had been cutting things up together for 75 years. I was able to insure the welfare of his widow, and told his family he died staying by his post on a classified project that could very well save all the lives on our island one day. It was true enough, and they liked the fact they he will appear on a new Vulnavian stamp. I wonder if a single other cousin has attended a funeral for the numerous fallen. At the service I enjoyed sharing in the rituals of a simple faith I could never share. the wisdom Rev. Jones placed in his eulogy needs to be heard in Amber. While eating with the bereaved, and watching a large family together, I again turn to thoughts of my legacy, and heritage. While it is easy to get lost in blissful visions where legions of kelp maned progeny mourn my passing in the far future, I suspect a more practical near term solution will be demanded of me. I am not inclined to practice the kind of vicarious procreation that begot me, and my mad kindred, nor can I have a normal relationship while the numerous these demands are placed upon me.
everything has changed, nothing has changed. I still have a promise to Sorak. I still have people that depend on me.
The spy Alexa’s activities as detailed by Sir John's people:
She had a Trump sketch made up of her “father” in Shadow Luzon. The artist, Baron Tryffin of Rebma, reports that he checked the man out as per Queen Moire’s dictates. He did appear to be a local, a member of a glassmakers’ guild, known all his life to his fellows, with a daughter named Alexa. Alexa was schooled at a religious establishment for several years but ran away and ended up as a minor nobleman’s mistress, then parlayed that into entry into Amber via the Red Rooster.
The father now shows signs of multiple memory adjustments. There is no sign of the real Alexa.
Alexa regularly sent money to her father. She also bought a considerable number of books and had them shipped to an “old client” via a Deigan trading house. The books were warehoused but have disappeared. The books were works on Amber’s trade, economics, memoirs of captains noted for first contacts, memoirs of captains noted for skill and leadership, memoirs of various prominent nobles, treatises on law, copies of the trading ‘bibles’ of Houses Miramon, Feldane, Chantris, Kandive and Bayle, books on the royal family’s dealings with the nobles and commoners of Amber, biographies of the princes and princesses and of Oberon, books on court etiquette for Amber and Rebma, standard classics on warfare in different shadow conditions, treatises on engineering in Amber and tourist guides for Amber, Rebma and much of the Golden Circle and Coral Reach.
Alexa got to know several prominent sea captains and members of the royal guard. She was known for being a wonderful listener. She did not make inquiries into the castle or city defenses. She did not visit the castle. She visited several Unicorn shrines.
Alexa kept a strange plant in her room, which, she said, reminded her of home. The plant (see description) is not familiar to Luzonans and was burned to ash in her quarters.
The Johrom situation was almost relaxing. Jesby had better technology that they were powering from various points on the continent. The only thing to do was destroy those points of power. Simple.
Of course with the background count as high as it was around those power sources I’ll probably never have normal-looking kids, but starting a family of my own is hardly on my mind when the family I have to deal with already is so powerfully messed up.
We made the plan, we did the plan, and almost everything went right. Johrom lost some people, but the overall benefit is going to be pushing Jesby the hell out of town, so I didn’t see too many long faces afterwards.
Seems like Gerard’s open to the idea of my taking a visit with the Queen Grams. Might be a useful way to learn a little more about the Courts -- information that isn’t filtered through the eyes of a whore and a invalid at any rate -- but we’ll see. If I’m out that way I might get a chance to see my half-brother as well -- last I heard he was still under lock and key out Hendrake’s way. Might want to ask Grams if shooting him out of there would hurt the peace process. The way she acts, there’s about even chances she’ll either kill me for thinking the thought or offer to help me out. One more crazy/dangerous woman in the family hardly makes me bat an eye.
With Johrom looking better, I’ll have to see about shoring up defenses and laying the groundwork to keep our Gryphon cousins the hell away from our backyard in the future -- given enough time I think they’ll be a bit too dead to do us much harm, but that’ll take time to do it up proper. Fin came by and asked where I’d first laid hold of my Reman troops, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thinking along the same lines.
The World of a Princess
I am sitting around oddly enough with not much to do. I am waiting for Zhartra to contact me. I am deciding on a new plan for Corwin because Moirwynn totally wussed out on me. She is so scared of her mom that it isn’t even funny. This is her dad for crying out loud that I am willing to risk my neck for but she isn’t. The new plan is to go out with Zhartra and try and trump him from the other side of Chaos.
I gather together the gifts for Benedict. She had a few suggestions and I have a few of my own as well. Eventually I got everything together and she trumps me. She would like to talk to father and I take her to him. Zhartra wants dad to locate Sand and Delwin apparently there is some job they are supposed to do and they have not been doing it. She then uses some interesting powers to take us to an ally of hers. We then go to a well and to her house.
I get to meet Uncle Benedict and he of course asks about the realm. We chat and he shows me around as Zhartra leaves us to attend to other business. Benedict has so many questions and has been mostly informed but he doesn’t know as much as maybe he should. I think we spent at least a day talking.
Zhartra returns the next day and she is injured and using a gloved hand to carry a sword. She hands it to Benedict and she wants to contact Corwin right now. We go to the place she has in mind and I contact Corwin. We unfortunately for me it dawns on me as I initiate the contact that he doesn’t know me and even more unfortunately for me he answers the same way dad does. He says hello with a handgrip around my throat. I convince him we are related and that he should trump Benedict. We all chat for awhile and now I know part of why Diego is crazy if he has this guy’s genetic structure.
You know things are going badly when your level of frustration reaches a
point when Jacob's approach to adversity seems level headed and rather
decisive. I have reached this point. There are heavily warded Hellgram
Logrus users a mile away and it is going to be a pain to get to them. I had a
Thought of taking on of these Jet liners and crashing it into the Building,
But Zherevyev and Sabine gave me the evil eye and got very angry at this
Note to self: In future just go and do it and don't discuss it with my
portable consciences. Just a thought.
But that was yesterday Today we took a lovely train ride down the coast to
a beach town by the name of Langet. Kirsten and Zherevyev are hiding out
of the sun. They told me that they had found some tasty native men that
they are lightly feeding off of. Boran is chasing the skirts, with some
success. I guess gold does wonders to change poor girls minds.
An hour ago Sabine hit me with the Whole "we need to talk" thing. It had
started to bother her that I do not think that this is real. She didn't want
to be with anybody that thought that she was an illusion, And she really
didn't want to be sleeping with anybody that thought that she was an
illusion. She really has no idea of what a computer is but she knows that
one did not make her. I was going to inform her that according to the
books from the Tar Tarngir Library all she really is somebodies imagination,
but I didn't need to have her even more pissed off then she was right now.
She told me that my belief was making me vulnerable to illusion attacks
(except for the fact that one can detect that). She cast a spell on me...and
I was back in the Village. exactly where I thought I should be. Wasting
away, Nobody taking care off my body. Sabine seemed really pleased with
herself. She no idea what I had seen, but said that a simple spell like that
would put me in harms way. I pulled one of the thought transfer gems from
my pocket and passed to her. Her face blanched, and she started to shiver
a bit at what she saw and felt.
When she was done I handed her Tanitheel's Trump card and told her to
make the arraignment to go to the Village. She perked right up and took
the card to talk to Tanitheel. Could it be possible that this is real? Yes, it
is in the realm of the Possible. I have adjusted to stranger things over the
past several months. But if it is real, things are going to have to change.
Right now I do not know what, but something. If it is real I'm going to kill
#1 and take over the Village. It would make a nice little research center. I
will put #7 out of his misery. But number one on the list is that the next
person that calls me Reese is going to get their ass kicked from one side of
Amber to the other. That will feel really good.
Will I be more careful? Hmmm, Unknown. I've seen lesser minds die in
computer simulations and die in real life as well. So not much of a change
needed there. I will have to start to take life more...more leisurely. If this
is not a test, I can go even farther into the "I'm not your babysitter" mode.
Take a page or two out of the wastrel Diego's book.
For those that want to be caught up on my goings on, and not spend so much
time in my newly curious mind, Here you go.
This new shadow is Purgatory. A shadow similar to Flora's Earth shadow (I
wonder if they have Gurka's here?). We (Myself, Sabine, Zherevyev,
Kirsten, and Boran) arrived in a wide spot in the road called Vina Punta.
After we got our bearings, and figured out what was up, we traveled north.
First by truck to Potosi. Next, by Train to Las Pahz, and on to Qweentow.
This city had the best mix of things we needed. Low security measures on
communications, and easy feeding possibilities for Kirsten and Zherevyev.
On the way we had to keep upgrading our security papers to fool the next
set of foolishness at the next border.
We hired somebody who called himself a hacker. His real name was Tenoch
and he introduced us to the wonders of the network of this shadow. Prior
to this I spent my time reading the outrageous tabloids for hints of the
Hellgrams. These were helpful, but you had to do a lot of manual sifting.
Very time consuming. The computer systems were not much different then
the ones back home. I adapted easily, but Sabine and Zherevyev took some
time learning. Kirsten grew frustrated and helped others look for things.
Boran also tossed out good ideas every so often. We found little bits of
things that sounded like Hellgram activity, but no big glowing you are here
I spent the next day just letting the shadow wash over me and taking it all
in. Then a flash...and another...and another. I worked out the location and
started to triangle it. Got it. I grabbed the Atlas of this shadow and tried
to match everything up. It looked like the City of Koalua Lompour. Tenoch
made reservations for us on a sub-orbital transporter.
I enjoyed it, great fun. Nobody else was to happy with the experience.
Koalua Lopour was a sprawling jungle city. We rented a automobile and
made our way to where I felt the flashes. We followed it out to the ocean,
and tangled in the Mangroves we found some bodies that looked as if they
were hacked apart by Logrus Tendrils. So we had found the Hellgrams.
Back in town I spent some time trying to feel the city. Taking it all in, I
soon felt a huge presence of a magically shielded building. It was soon gone,
but I had the location fixed.
Sabine and Zherevyev quickly shot down my idea of flying one of the large
jets into it. It's what, I felt, Jacob would do. This I think, was the start
of Sabine's mood. Yes this is where it began.
The Drakke are an reptilian amphibious subterranean race with a
remarkable ability to move earth. they appear as 7-9 foot high sleestacks with long necks, 4 arms. long tails, short sturdy legs, and large bellies that look like a symptom of malnutrition. their front side is comparatively soft and frog-like while their backs are heavily scaled.
the large bellies are actually fluid filled, and are used to enhance sensitivity to sonic vibrations, often they are pressed up against the rock face when sonic
cries are uttered to give a remarkably good idea of what sort of materials exist in the stone.
they are matriarchal like the beasts of whore-rom.
they wear little clothing save moss colored weaved sashes that indicate what female they belong to, otherwise clothing might interfere with "hearing".
the top set of arms is strong and muscular, and used to rip away stone like butter after strange secretions that make the Drakke smell like lime mixed with peppermint, and specialized enchantments have been applied. the lower set are
comparatively delicate, and used for amazing feats of fine manipulation. It is a sign that you are trusted when a drakke extends a lower hand to you a
the most interesting adaptation of the race is the black alien eye like multi-sensory units on the head that are fluid filled sacks designed to enhance
vibration like the melon on a whale or dolphin. in the center of each eye is a multi-sensory stalk. this can give them limited non-color vision for about 300 degrees in low to no light environments with high perceptory capabilities in
the ir spectrum.
they are slow moving, and eat massive amounts of food, and are not practical as primary combat units
in addition to near divine powers over earth, and masonry. they have a ability to use sonic powers offensively collectively, and to a much lesser degree individually. when they have been in an area awhile. and have attuned to the frequency of the local rock, they can collapse tunnels readily if one of the many
predator races comes close.
they tend to be pensive, and intellectual. they like different food, and have a fair amount of intellectual curiosity about new things mixed with a great pride in their craft.
for pets they keep a species native to their home that is a odd cross between mud-skipper, and cuttlefish. I has a far lesser incarnation of their rock dissolving abilities, and also aids in personal grooming.
For Gerard's Eyes Only
As you have by now become aware of the report regarding the courtesan, I wanted to share a few private thoughts with you. First of all let me inform you I took the initiative to order Sir John to begin the investigation as soon as I learned of it. I hope that meets with your approval. I have purposely not made a personal appearance at the investigation in an effort to keep it lower key than it might otherwise become.
It was apparent that the Gryphons learned of Avalon through the efforts of a spy or turncoat. I am firmly convinced that the trollop was not the primary source of the information. Let me explain why.
To the best of my knowledge, none of my cousins or nobles knew of the origin of the Avalon powder. I myself only knew that it was in the guardianship of Benedict's men. The known customers of the spy presumably did not include yourself or Sir John, the only people I know who were aware of the details. Unless some of Benedict's men happened to spill the beans (totally against everything I know of their character), the spy had no access to anyone who knew anything useful.
The spy could have easily slipped out of Amber in human form, thus keeping her secret. The fact that she was witnessed to have shapechanged and flown away seems to me to be a convenient arrangement. I fear she was yet another decoy to protect the true source of the information. If we become convinced she was the culprit, we do not seek out the true mole.
Of utmost importance is to develop, in secret, a method of detecting the drug we believe was used to camoflage the spy's shapechanging ability. I suggest you task Toriana with this. I would not trust anyone else currently in our employ with this until they have been screened for the drug. That includes Sir John. If we learn who the mole is, we should not let on that we suspect them. They should be fed disinformation and their contacts slowly identified.
Another possibility that I must point out is that Zhartra could have been the source. She has had long access to Benedict and I find it hard to fathom that she would not have learned of Amber gunpowder. She could have disclosed the information to the Gryphons and used the opportunity to ingratiate herself with us by helping us fight them off. Notice she only occupied herself with the cannon fodder, not the Gryphons themselves. We now "owe" her and may be more amenable to whatever plan she has in mind for us. Food for thought.
Finally I come to what should be done with Avalon now that everyone and their dog knows where it is. I propose that Benedict's men remain in direct control of the mine and stores but I strongly urge that a long term plan be implemented to station a well trained and loyal standing army there to protect the area in general. Since you are not at liberty to devote yourself to its defense, I would recommend you delegate the defense as the primary responsibility to Jacob, Thirteen, Rinaldo or myself. Dara is still too close to Hendrake, Diego is under the unhealthy sway of Queen Moire, Flora is conflicted where Gryphon is concerned and Toriana is not martially inclined.
The Jewel of Judgment/Eye of the Serpent
---Attunement, for a Pattern initiate, costs 1 point. Work with it for a while and you can get another point. Work twice as long as that.... and so on. If you weren't a Pattern initiate, and you survive, you are one now! = 26 points
Pattern [limited to Dworkin's descendants]
---basic Pattern = 25pts.
---standard Pattern = 50 points, but can be bought up in 5 or 10 point chunks, or even as a ton of Specializations. [
['chunks' are Senses, Probability, Defense and 10 pt Shadowshifting]
---full advanced Pattern = 100 points, but can be bought up in 10 or 20 point chunks
Logrus [Chaosites and, presumably, Dworkin's spawn] *flaw: eventual insanity
---basic Logrus = 20 points
---standard Logrus = 40 points
---full advanced Logrus = 80 points
Trump Artistry [Dworkin's descendants with artistic talent]
---basic TA = 10 points [slow sketches on-site, sense Trump, enhanced use]
---intermediate TA = 15 points [slow full Trumps]
---standard TA = 25 points [standard production speed, ID, enhanced use]
---advanced techniques = +5 point for each 2 of Trick Trumps, Spy, Block/Jam and Gate
---mental Trumps = 45 points total
Shapeshifting [Chaosites, Gheneshan vazdru, Dworkin's descendants -- Amberites, Rebman royals, Shroudlings]
---a complicated tier, look for its own post
the Jewels of Amber, Rebma and Tir Tarngir
---Just like the JoJ; once you are attuned your JoJ points (if any) apply to any lesser Jewel you can use.
Corwin's Pattern's nature is unclear at present but is seems to give Douglas, Deirdre and Vialle regular Pattern powers in Avallon's region and half-powers in Amber's region. Amber Pattern works half as well in Avallon too.
---Combines the power of a Pattern artifact made of Dworkin's own steel (that is, of iron and carbon from his own blood) and a secondary Pattern jewel.
---basic = 10 points: halfassed shadowwalking and senses
---standard = 15 points: can hex
---advanced = 25 points: much improved at everything
Well of Darkness *flaw: eventual insanity
---basic = 10 points: slow fadeaway
---standard = 15 points: faster, travel Well to Well, trans-shadow, passenger
---advanced = 25 points: faster, fade across regions of shadow, fast insanity, several passengers
Binding [geas-bound guardians] *flaw: the job, the geas
---basic = 10 points: draw on the power, enhanced attributes for finding/loosing
---standard = 15 points: more power
---advanced = 25 points: more power still
Mirrormastery: 5, 10 and 15 points
-- sorcery: 5 or 10 points
-- conjuration: 5 or 10 points
lesser shapeshifting -- weres and the like: 10 or 15 points
vampirism: 10 points
vampiric blood powers: 1-3 points each in Domination, Pyromant, Movement, Thirst Mastery, Lycanthropy, Aeromant, Geomant, Hydromant, Obscurity or Dreamcasting
shadow power sources, generally 10 points each. Some SPSs also have special servants with enhanced attributes and powers. Examples: Fangorn, Agheer.
-- the Weir source [select noble weres of Sh. Weirmonken] *flaw: service: instant reassimiliation of severed/ripped parts, don't exsanguinate
-- Bel [whomever Bel pleases; priests and interesting wanderers]: enhanced detection and use of shadow paths, and teleports
-- the Bright Lady of Dom-daniel [whomever She pleases; operatives]: Gaian magic and blessings/curses within Dom-daniel
-- Agheer [the Daughters of Agheer] *flaw: serve Agheer: water magic mastery and undine mastery
-- the Unicorn [whomever She pleases; she's picky] *flaw: job: blessings
-- the Cat, presumably
-- the Heart of Fangorn [natives] *flaw: serve Fangorn, physical tranformation: gaian magic enhancement and earth elemental mastery
BLOOD AND BLOOD ARTIFACTS
Blood is a potent and resonant substance and symbol across creation. The Serpent is said to have made Its spawn, the Elderkin and the Lords of Chaos, from Its blood. Dworkin drew the Primal Pattern with his blood and the Jewel of Judgement. Many in Chaos believe the Serpent made the Logrus in much the same fashion.
A power initiate's blood, or rather the iron, carbon and so on in it, can be made into artifacts that enhance or express his or her powers to some set purpose. Greyswandir and Werewindle were made from Dworkin's blood. (And a lot of it. It takes about 20 pints of blood to get a chunk of iron the mass of a nickle.) Zhartra has a couple of blades charged with her powers: Logrus, the Dark Well, the Binding Force, magic and shapeshifting. Florimel and Toriana have rings. Oberon's sword, now wielded by Gerard, was made from his blood. The Crown of Chaos is almost certainly a major blood artifact. Some are convinced that one can only properly use an artifact made from your own blood or that of an ancestor. Some of the artifacts are sentient.
POSSIBLE POWERS [they have great power but can they share it?]
The Serpent Itself
Great Old Ones
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
Day 36 PDS 12:30PM :
I have brought Galina to Amber and tried to keep her arrival as unobtrusive as possible. Gerard had other ideas and now it is widely known amongst the castle staff (and by extension various spies) that a new family member has been brought in. I made arrangements to have her attired in garb less conspicuous in Amber and gave her a brief tour of the castle once it was clear all secrecy is lost. I first brought her to the castle parapet where she can survey the surrounding countryside. I pointed out landmarks, described the extent of the realm and then began filling her in on the current state of the family (at least in my view). She will have to make up her own mind about them individually, but I gave her my most tactfully worded opinion on each member. She will meet them soon enough I imagine. She asked me a great number of questions regarding the welfare of the people, how we rule and what kind of regent Gerard was. It is my hope she can bring a bit more civility to the family. I encouraged her to pursue interests that will directly benefit the people such as charity organization, improved education and better living conditions if she decides to stay and join us. I feel that she will.
I next took her down to her father’s rooms where I had his possessions withdrawn from storage for her inspection. I hoped that by putting a more personal face to her dead parent she might find a stronger sense of connection to Amber. I also wanted an excuse to find out more about Caine myself. Rumor has it he was the one to slay my father and I have conflicting emotions regarding the man. I wanted to test myself to be sure I could regard both he and his progeny with objectivity. I now feel that I can. I sense he was as complex a person as my father and I wish I had known him. His personal belongings showed his deep connection to the sea, a feeling I can empathize with. His astounding collection of knives showed his darker nature too. In some ways he may have been much like my father before the madness of the Well took him. Fascinating. I could tell Galina was intrigued as well and we spent most of the morning going over his things.
Day 36 PDS 3:00 PM:
I made arrangements for a personal bodyguard for Galina and will leave her to her own devices for a while. I am sure she will want to speak at length with Gerard when he returns from Avalon. In the meantime a very disturbing bit of news has surfaced. I was alerted by a city guard that Alexa (with whom my brother has been greasing his weasel) was witnessed to have changed shape and flown away about the time of the Avalon battle. I ordered an immediate investigation and alerted Sir John at the first opportunity. The investigators are combing her apartments as I write this. I fear that she may have been the one to discover the location of Avalon and set that whole sorry affair in motion. This will reflect badly on Rinaldo once word gets out. I need to warn him so that he may both help in the investigation and mitigate any political damage he may suffer.
Day 36 PDS 6:30PM:
Rinaldo was not pleased at the news. I convinced him to ply Lirazel for information on how the enemy avoided detection from the sniffers. He seems to think he can and is eager to make good. I have left the investigation to Sir John’s people. My own involvement in an investigation would only serve to heighten its publicity, not something that is wise to do. I imagine a lot of the nobility and possibly a couple of my cousins will be feeling a bit uncomfortable. The spy has probably slept with quite a few of them. Certainly medical examinations are in order for those involved. I will bring it up with Diego next time I see him. I can’t bring myself to trump him this evening. In my mood I am likely to say something I will regret and I don’t feel it prudent to alienate him while this war is still ongoing. Tomorrow I will be offering some of my troops a chance to return home. I try to brighten my spirits by the thought of their triumphant homecoming but deep in my heart I recognize that I am only planting the seeds for future recruitment for entirely selfish reasons. Its hard to feel better about things when you know yourself so well.
Day 37 PDS 8:00AM:
I am about to lead about half of my samurai back to their homes. This morning I assembled them and presented them with a choice. Either they could continue serving me and heap more honor upon themselves or they could return home with my blessing. I presented each man with a ceremonial dagger emblazoned with the unicorn of Amber and a small bag of gold. Those returning have plenty of loot from our few campaigns in any case and will be moderately wealthy upon their return. They are certainly better trained now and will command great respect from their native lords upon their return. The half who chose to remain will become the core of my personal guard. I will reward their faith in me in every way that I can.
It is my hope that those who return spread tales of our glory (exaggerated no doubt) and facilitate future recruitment from their homeland. I have no doubt I will need their services again.
Day 38 PDS 9:30PM:
I spoke with Rinaldo late last night. He was drunk as a skunk but had news from Lirazel about how the shapeshifter was able to avoid detection. They have developed a drug that inhibits the ability to the point of undetectability. We will need samples of the drug and have to find a way to detect its presence inside a body.
Not long after my conversation with Rinaldo I was trumped by an old friend in Rebma. Count Taran wanted to congratulate me on my elevation to the royal family. He has been away scouting for Rebma for some time, presumably in chaosian held territory. Our relationship is interesting. I know he is a defacto agent for Queen Moire. He knows that I know. Neither of us care. Still, alarm bells went off in my head when he invited me to a shadow hopping drinking binge to celebrate his return/my elevation/Martin’s return. This seems a particularly imprudent time to get hammered into insensibility, particularly in shadow. I can’t forget that he has been in enemy territory for an extended time and could theoretically have been replaced or turned by one of our enemies. The only way for me to find out if my old friend is still worthy of trust is to accept the invitation and be on guard.
Earlier today I was contacted by Ky-Tung and asked to haul her and her crew to safety. They ran afoul of what I take to be a Gryphon naval patrol and lost the ship. They were in the vicinity of the giant creature shadow and had a number of trophies with them. Bobcat pelts as large as bear skins and such. She set about her mercantile hobby in the homeland of my samurai where I had been repatriating my men all day. Things are well here and it looks like I will have an amenable relationship with the local lords when it comes time to recruit more men. In fact, I have a few already wanting to come to Amber. I will take forty or fifty back with me and begin their training.
I told Ky-Tung of Taran’s invitation. She will attend, suitably armed as my backup. I also will invite Breggor along. I have been neglecting him a bit and I need to renew our relationship. The question is, do I broach the subject of the Broken Pattern to Ky?
Day 38 PDS 11:30PM:
One last entry for today. I am feeling in a recruiting kind of mood and have been wanting to get some more Remans under the Amber banner. I trumped Jacob to ask where he obtained his men. Jacob was in the process of peeling off some strange commando garb but was quite flush from the recent joy of “blowing shit up” as he put it. Johrom seems to be going well and he was in a good mood. He agreed to take me to their shadow once he has a bit of time and nothing else needs demolition. I sort of envied him his simple pleasures. I have not had opportunity for gratifying destruction since Tulun, and even there I was not personally demolishing anything.
Shadow Lynxia is a human-inhabited world with average magical potential in general and high healing potential. Its technological potential is roughly 3rd C Roman/Chinese. Both magic and tech are utilized to their fullest in Lynxia-the-state, a peninsula plus archipelago the size of Greece and all the Mediterranean islands. Houses Feldane and Chantris struggled for control of Lynxia several centuries ago until Oberon intervened and installed a viceroy -- Benedict. Lynxia became an open port but one treated with special care due to its usefulness. Since Benedict's 11 year viceroyalty the Amber appointees have come from a variety of noble Houses, both Great and small. One of the Princes was always assigned to keep an eye on the shadow, its garrison and its fleet. Gerard had had to make do with generals and admirals. Corrupt Vicreroys are beheaded, the merely inept might, possibly, survive. The current Vicereine is Baroness Dench of House Miramon; she has been successful and is well-regarded in a 'Cast Iron Bitch' ("yeah, but she's our cast iron bitch,") kind of way. Denizens of Lynxia-the-state ("Lynxia" instead of "Shadow Lynxia") are Amber subjects and nearly as prosperous in Amber itself. Shadow paths to Lynxia all go through at least two fortified choke points. Trumps of Lynxia are required to be approved by the Governor, registered and licensed, except for those used personally by Amber royals and (as a courtesy and a bow to practicality) Rebman royals.
Other states of Shadow Lynxia benefit to a lesser degree from the engineering and magical expertise, and the stability, of Lynxia proper.
Where is everyone?
Takes the reins at Johrom, starts scouting out the power sources for Jesby's big mobile gun platforms. There are about seven tactically significant sources. The key site on the continent (supporting the forward offensive for Jesby) is on a mountain: warded, heavily defended, reinforced. He plants scouts around the place to watch for sorcerers or Logrus masters. Other than an inspection tour, there isn't.
The main power source for this device is a coal burning power plant at the base of the mountain, supplied locally and via rail.
Toriana considers her next death-defying feat. The plan ends up being: try to trump Corwin from the domain of the Queen of Air of Darkness while delivering a bonsai tree and two striped horses to Benedict.
Zhartra reports that Dworkin is walking the fine line between Normal and stark raving bonkers -- he hasn't been properly taking care of the binding and wards surrounding various Things that Man was Not Meant to Know -- meets Tori at the stables and they 'fade' off (coin-assisted) to a throneroom-sized stone chamber with a blacker-than-black Well of Darkness in it and several of Z's retainers guarding it. Zhartra tells Toriana (with a significant look) that the place belongs to one of her allies. She then leads them into the Well, sheathed in Binding force and controlling the frightened horses, and out via another Well to her own abode, an enormous fortress/hollow mountain called Shadow Guard.
Once at the castle, Benedict makes an appearance and accepts the bonsai graciously. The three of them talk about the Avalon offensive in some depth.
Diego begins examining the Gryphon troops that were captured/killed. He is also still holding Gryphon Chaosite Dante captive and is slowly turning him into a raving nutbag. He discusses Zhartra with Moire and then contacts Gerard about finding other kin that are still out in Shadow. He's suspicious of Gerard's claim that Fineas had already brought in the only useful one. Heads to Lynxia and works on some of his people by injecting his blood into them, then moves some of the healed people of Avalon back home with some supplies.
Gerard is there and is discussing how to move/protect Avalon's powder supply now that the location has been compromised [again, no idea how the Gryphons found the Shadow in the first place].
Attires Galena [Amberite pacifist cousin] in appropriate attire for Amber and takes her on a tour, meanwhile briefing her on the Family and Amber, using descriptions that have obviously been edited with the assumption that his words will eventually reach the others. Steers her in the direction of activities that will essentially make the royal family look better to the general populace. He then leads her down to Caine's [her father's] room and shows her some of his things.
Goes over the losses and damage taken by his troops both in general and specifically, and restructures his forces for the next large offensive. Sets up the Pope to govern Coriolanopolis. Derkon the Necromancer and the vampire lordling Van Klatka stay on to help out. He goes scouting into a high-tech shadow with his small entourage -- where the local town looks like a fairly run down and poor barrio.
Discuses the Chaos Court ambassadorial service with Gerard. Makes plans regarding who to use as messengers in Chaos. Works on plans for blowing things up in Johrom. Flora contacts him and they discuss some of Random's old friends in Shadow Earth that have been trying to look Random up lately. Jacob mentions dropping by there later, once he's cleared his calendar.
Wanders about the castle on a tour with Zhartra and Benedict. Toriana takes notes of key landmarks and interesting rooms. Takes her up to the top of the castle to take in the view. The surrounding sea is blood-red but fortunately doesn't smell like it looks. Toriana tests out the magic and easily adjusts.
"You may go anywhere you wish in the castle, except where the doors are locked, where of course you will not wish to go. There is reason that all things are as they are, and did you see with my eyes and know with my knowledge, you would perhaps better understand."
Benedict and Tori are allowed to wander around the castle "at will" (see above) and discuss the vagaries of the Keep. They talk over some family background. Tori does secret stuff with her bird familiar. She finds out what Benedict's constraints are. Benedict mentions that Zhartra has been Queen of Chaos before. Twice. But she sucked at it.
Sees to his battle orphans and converses with Kyllikki, who is developing latent Shapeshifting unconsciously -- she's suddenly more voluptuous. When this is pointed out to her she freaks out somewhat but Diego works on calming down before she loses control entirely. They move about through Rebma and socialize.
The Rebmans have arranged to trade Tor Hendrake for Martin and Diego and Dara are on hand for the event. Martin is moving oddly since he's been held in some sort of reptile form for several years. The group moves back to Rebma and examines him thoroughly. He's under some physical strain but it seems as though he'll recover.
Continues with the tour of Amber and sees about a bodyguard/guide for Galena while she's in the area. A guard comes rushing up -- disturbing reports that Alexa, one of the top courtesans in the city [one that's had relations with both Diego and Rinaldo] turned into some sort of flying animal and flew away (between buildings and out the gate, thus avoiding the air defenses) sometime around the Avalon attack -- Fineas sets an investigation in motion and contacts Rinaldo. He works on several theories as to how she managed to avoid detection by the shifter-sniffers -- it's a mystery -- but it may be that this is how the Gryphons learned about the location of Amber's gunpowder. This is still a tenuous theory at best, however, since no one in the royal family actually knew the location.
Welcome to Shadow Purgatory, where the men are men and the cars are designed to bounce rhythmically. Thirteen is looking for a contact or clue as to Chaosite presence in this area. It's not obvious if there's any major Chaosite involvement in this area and he is researching in local papers and tabloids. The locals like his coinage and try to be very helpful.
After several days, everyone's doing alright except for Kirsten, who needs to feed and goes looking for a criminal to gnaw on. Thirteen is looking for a computer system he can conduct some data searches on. They move into a hotel as a group to keep themselves from being very conspicuous. The Shadow seems to be rife with conspiracy theories.
Jacob works around how to assault the antennae and the power plant. Eventually he settles for going to the top of the mountain alone, sending Ahzvan into the power plant with some troops when they see the antennae go boom. It's not a subtle plan, but he's not a subtle person.
Considers working on a trump (of anyone he likes) for Benedict. Can't quite decide.
The next day at lunch, Zhartra walks in, slightly wounded and carrying Werewindle in a heavily gloved hand. She hands Benedict the sword, explaining that she agreed to return it to Fineas in exchange for services-yet-unnamed. She suspects that some Big Bad has gotten lose from its binding already (since Dworkin lapsed in his duties) and she proposes a deal to Benedict, saying she'll let him out of his binding early if he agrees to help her out with whatever's gotten loose. He agrees and she does that thing.
Zhartra asks Toriana about her current plans. Tori allows that her plans are relatively minor in light of what's going on, but Zhartra thinks otherwise and wants to help her contact and warn Corwin of these latest developments.
They move through a Well into a different Shadow that's apparently within Corwin's realm and Toriana trumps Corwin.
Unfortunately, she succeeds. Corwin yanks her through and prepares to pop her head off. Toriana tries to talk her way out of it by drowning him in data overload. This also succeeds.
Working on gunpowder production security and dealing with supplying some to Rebma [Oberon spins in his unmarked grave]. Talks with Morwyn about dealing with the blowback in Amber for his absconding with Tor and giving him to Moire. They talk about Martin's eventual recovery and introducing him to Jacob.
Diego heads back to Kyllikki and calms her down.
He gets up in the morning and works on Kyllikki, the Rebman wounded and Moire, in that order.
Pays a visit to his samurai encampment and presents them with the opportunity to either stay on in his service or go back home. About half decide to return to their home shadow, considerably enriched. He also pays a visit to the original lord he made a bargain with, who is quite pleased. Word gets out and he recruits a few new samurai who are interested in Glory, Honor, etc.
Fineas' friend in Rebma, Count Taran, trumps to congratulate him on his new princely status. He's just ended an extended mission scouting part of Chaos and was involved in exchanging Prince Martin for Tor Hendrake. Carousing is planned and Fineas is invited, he accepts, work permitting.
Ten minutes later, he gets another trump from Kai, who starts handing her bruised and battered crew through. She ran into trouble in Shadow on the way to the Tir region with a flotilla of ships of what look like Kyllikki's people. He sees to her crew's health and brings her up to date on local happenings.
Welcome back to Shadow Quinta. Thirteen's doing some Pattern-based passive scanning to get an idea of what's going on in this Shadow. He picks up something in the environs of Malaysia-equivalent [a long flight]. With good fake id's, they proceed. The new tropical sun makes the vampires unhappy. Kirsten is not a big fan of commercial flights.
Upon arrival, they find another hotel and take the measure of the country. Strange things are happening in the area -- people with odd, 'I've just been run through by a Logrus tendril that blew through my wards' injuries are floating out in the bay, for example. Hmm.
Jacob's plan goes off reasonably well -- clad in a radiation suit, he kills most of the Greys that were gaurding the mountaintop tower, then blows it to bit -- although Ahzvan's concurrent assault on the power plant goes less well -- Jacob has to come back to the plant after blowing the antennae in order to get anyone out successfully. The plant's destruction/immobilization is effected, but they lose about 2/3rds of the group. The other assaults seem to be going off well around the continent (five successes, one marginal, and one failure), and Jacob bugs out to a command center. The Johromi follow up the raids with intensive bombing.
Corwin contacts and pulls Benedict through with Zhartra. The Chaos side of Corwin's realm is marked by universal darkness and it is essentially impossible to Shadowwalk through the barrier to the more familiar part of Chaos, let alone the rest of Shadow -- he's very curious how the three of them got to his Realm. He's got a good kingdom, a good family, it's been sixty years, his time, since he vanished from the Courts, and he isn't particularly concerned about the outside world (especially with Benedict, with all his limbs intact, about to step back in and kick ass), though he asks to be caught up on things. Corwin's obviously distanced himself from his old commitments and isn't entirely interested in the news. The news of his previously unknown children, Morwyn and Diego, engages him but he doesn't expect them to automatically embrace a stranger.
Corwin and Zhartra talk about him taking the Binding power to tie down some of the Things that have crept loose in his realm. Corwin asks Toriana to train some of his kids on Trump artistry and gets a patented Toriana-brand Bugger Off [tm]. Unfazed, he asks her to see if M-- Llewella can scare up a tutor.
Runs through some overdue tasks, related to his ghost gallery & Kelamon, the Drachnae, his new Shapeshifter girl, the creation of his Ubermen, and sends a note to Gerard, recommending collecting tissue samples from prisoners to assure they'll stay clear of Amber in the future. Turns out the Chaosite tissue samples unfortunately break down very very quickly -- probably some sort of genetic modifications introduced to Chaos Lords at birth. He questions Dante some more [note the lack of not-torturing -- very naughty]. Somewhere in here, Dante starts some uncontrolled Shapeshifting and the safeties on his cage try to melt him into a goo. Dante wakes up and tries to shift more... Acid drops on him.... Logrus tendrils trash the lab, killing a tech while Diego saves the other as Dante dies. Later, Diego trumps Moire and gives her a few more knick knacks and power coins.
Gets Kai's people fixed up, talks to Kai about the shindig planned to celebrate Martin's return. They chat, then he trumps Jacob.
Jacob and Fineas exchange notes. Fineas asks after the origin of Jacob's Remans so he can obtain more. Jacob agrees to take him out that direction as soon as possible.
The city he finds himself in seems to have a much higher level of secretive magic use than the area he first arrived in -- also some walking dead -- and some warded buildings. The building wards are very well done and difficult to detect. There's also some Logrus residue in a building that's had some holes poked through it in various places. He collects samples of the local ammunition and considers bypassing the building wards by crashing a 747 into the warded building. Others in his entourage (Sabine and Genevieve) suggest that finding out if the building belongs to the good guys or bad guys first might be a good idea.
I assigned kylikki to help with the care of clacker orphans at the facility we have improvised at my beach cottage. I am not entirely sure how she feels about the assignment, but I know of no better way to test her maternal instincts, and her respect for the diversity of life at the same time. It seems the clackers have taken a shine to her. I am not going to tell her the name they have given her loosely translates into "the great sorcerer's egg layer". She seems happy overall, and I loathe relationship discussions, but one might be needed. I am not sure what the future holds . apparently the liberal transmission of my body fluids has given her limited shape-shifting. it is hard to resist someone who seems eager to change their appearance to better suit your mood. She also seemed happy that I have extended her life 25 years. while things are bright on this one front , the rest of my existence is a mess
trying to collaborate with amber is like trying to tango with someone who wraps themselves in barbwire. I saw it in Gerhard's body language and stammer. gerhard is a poor liar, a worse half liar, and clearly incapable of a poker face. he has failed me fundamental in the majority of his obligations as regent. that lumbering primate is the epitome of incompetence. he has allowed me to be insulted by his ambassador, allowed his own daughter to snipe at my command, and allowed mass necromancy with impunity. I don't like what I know about what goes on with the 'family", and it makes the situation more unbearable because it seems there are numerous blacker secrets kept from me. I am not trusted valued or respected, nor can I even relate to this necromantic void of moral fortitude while the knowledge of souls sitting in jars, and the skullduggery of a whore burns at me continuously. standing stuck between rebman arrogance and the polymorphous nightmare of amber is a miserable place to be. The last two weeks have been an object lesson in ulcers and perpetual emasculation I did not ask for.
there is no such thing as fearless now, only temporarily cutting off oxygen to the brain, which i can do easily.
taking a moment to think I realized that I have indirectly given rebma the location where amber makes it's gunpowder, and as an interesting side note I have a working design flechette style shoulder rifles with enclosed reaction chambers for underwater use. technically I didn't give them the location, because we were well into shadow tracking gryphons when I trumped Morwyn, so the blame is with whoever she followed back, but I don't doubt i will be the fall guy, even though she couldn't have followed me, because i was airborne.
I did enjoy my dinner with my sister, to spite having to endure a brief flare up of the infamous Rebman superiority complex. It felt good to be skeet shooting off the side of our zeppelin with her. Even with my sister, I feel my worth is not held entirely as high as it should be. Martin seems to have the possibility of being a fellow lost soul. I have every intention of aiding his re-integration as much as possible, and comforting him when he views the utter shame and horror that will forever scar his brother's soul.
The World of a Princess
Morwyn and I decide to wait until the next afternoon before setting out to look for her father. We were both hung over and the sun is just so bright. We take in lunch together and as we were gathering our guards to depart on our self-appointed mission I got a trump call from Dad with a big problem. We needed everyone yesterday at Benedict’s Avalon to protect the gunpowder mines. I tell Morwyn I need to be excused for a family emergency – no need to let her know where the gunpowder is because after all she is a loyal Rebman royal. I go through the trump to Dad, figure out what we need, what’s already on the way, and go where I’m needed.
Mom’s already bringing through Jacob’s Remans so before he wastes my time asking me, I go to his Oscray camp. They aren’t very smart, but they kill what you point them at very well, and that’s the sort of thing I think we'll need.
Initially, they didn’t really want to listen to me. I found I needed to think like Jacob to get them going the right direction – after I grabbed an oak bench and knocked several of their guards insensible and lit one’s boots on fire, the rest realized I was probably someone best to take orders from.
The fight went off fairly well (although somewhere during it, someone (my guess is Diego because of the phenomenal short-sightedness) pulled Morwyn in – so now a Rebman royal and trump artist knows what Avalon looks like – wonderful) – we killed two of the Gryphon royals (one was a Pattern initiate and so one of Flora's sons), and captured two others (another of Flora’s son), and the rest didn’t get away with very much powder.
We all talked afterwards about what to do with prisoners like that. Diego (psychotically) wanted to kill all of them – witness my lack of surprise – but the rest of us were rational. The Queen of Air and Darkness, aka Great Great Grandmother (who came in to help us during the fight, but didn’t bring Uncle Benedict) offered to work out an ambassadorial training ground at her castle and establish contacts with the Courts – an offer which was well-received by most people. That could be very interesting, but somehow I think Dad might have a problem with me being an ambassador to the Courts of Chaos – also, there’s no way I want her rules governing me. I like her and all but I do not wish to be under her thumb any more than I wish to be under anyone’s.
I had a nice talk with Zhartra aka Great Great Grandmother. She can be very sweet. I need her help to find Corwin. She has agreed to help us after she speaks with Dworkin. I figured because she agreed to help us that I would do her a favor and let her know that he has good days and bad days and there is no way of telling which day it was and that she should be prepared for the worst upon contacting him. She was very grateful. I have asked if I can meet my uncle Benedict and she has graciously agreed. She mentioned bringing a gift to Dworkin and I in passing asked permission to bring Benedict a gift. She seemed very skeptical but I assured her that my intentions were honorable and that I only wished to bring him a plant because I have heard how much he loves to garden. She agreed to my request and it seems as though she forgot that it was one of his passions. She needed to be off and it was quite strange when she leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. Either I am marked for death or I am on her good side.
[My 'Quinn' journal.]
After talking with Azvhan and company about the situation in Johrom, it’s fairly obvious that we could finish up this little shindig with Jesby with a few solid weeks of blowing things up. Given the way my kin (and me, if I’m gonna be honest) enjoy that sort of thing, it’s a fair mystery why we don’t have people lining up to take care of this problem -- sounds like the most fun a person could have ‘working’.
Spent a few days scouting things out and sending Zariel out here and there. Nights were spent otherwise. I was getting something like a plan together in my head when Fineas called me with the latest monkey wrench. Seem the so-called Queen of Air and Darkness -- she that captured Benedict during the war and apparently our great-something-grandmother -- has taken an interest in us and wants to find out more about us. She says she doing it for Benedict but the last I heard he could see just fine with his own eyes, so there’s pry some reason he’s not allowed out of the house.
Fineas says this Zharthra wants to chat with all of us. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that until what came later.
While I was digesting the latest heaping helping of family complication, Fineas called again, this time with something more urgent -- Gryphon troops after the mines where we got the gunpowder that works in Amber and, surprise surprise, the Tir -- no real mystery what we need to do or what they’re after.
After the fight in Shandora, my troops have been starting to get the point that they need to be ready most any time. They did alright this time -- Kelamon was brining the Remans through and Tori already had the Oscray moving -- the slopebrows have figured out that she’s someone they’re better off listening to, which proves they have a survival instinct. We focus on the mines and the Gryphon’s try to make a getaway.
That doesn’t go so well for them. I think in the end they made off with a couple backpacks full of raw material. We killed a couple of theirs (one of which was one of Flora’s kids) and captured a few more (caught another one there). The most notable thing about the whole fight is that this Zharthra came in and helped with the fight and stayed to talk with everyone afterward. I watched her for awhile and I have to admit that she’s real careful about not leaving herself vulnerable, even when she’s just chatting.
Gerard starts up a family discussion about what to do with these chaosite prisoners and we all try to ignore Diego frothing at the mouth long enough to vote for keeping them alive and untortured in the future -- they’re more useful that way is my thinking.
Fineas asked the Queen about working as a Chaos/Amber diplomat, but she turned it around in such a way as to make her home into some sort of ambassador-in-training school for both sides of the conflict. We’re talking about sending representatives to handle this, but for my money it seems like one of the family should be involved in this. I talked to Gerard about it afterward, pointing out how it would let me keep an eye on a number of things that need watching, and he’s thinking about it.
Til then, there’s things to blow up in Johrom.
Dad has asked me to help him. It involves a mission to the moon with Tanitheel. I do not really know her that well but I do know she is loyal to the family, and dad seems insistent that this needs to be a priority. Tanitheel finds an area she wants a trump of and I start the process of making a trump. I finish up with the trumps she wants and we eventually trump back to the castle.
I guess Great Grandfather pays dad and Jacob a visit and delivers the papers he promised me he would. Dad doesn’t seem to pleased to learn that Grandfather is alive and partly in Great Grandfather, but it is not like I made it happen. The papers are in some weird cryptic stream of consciousness form. Dad gives me the papers and a lecture and I go to get some help.
Flora suggests Llewella and as I debate the possibility and political ramifications of such an action Jacob is repeatedly trumping me and will not let me have a moments peace. I finally do lose my temper and fling the papers at him and tell him to work it out himself. I have had it with family and I need to get the hell out of here. I trump Flora and ask her to accompany me on a personal quest. As a female and thus rational member of the family she kindly accepts. I contact Heinrich and let him know vacation is over and we will be going on a mission similar to the last one.
We manage to trump out to the nasty looking gnarly tree and start from there. Flora is so much better with pattern then I am. I watch her intently and try to figure out why she does what she does with it. I have not really decided to commit to truly learning it yet. I seem to have so much going on to fully learn yet another power. Flora takes us to some mountain.
The party is shot with sleeping darts and we wake up with Queen of Air and Darkness standing over us. She warns us to stop looking for the source of the power that there are consequences including never learning another power. She says she has an agreement with Benedict and that we are not able to negotiate for him at this time. She seems quite genuine and I a drawn to trusting her. In fact I think I might be able to get along quite well with her.
Flora and I wisely call the mission off. We trump back to the castle. I give Hienrich a pep talk, as he seems to think he failed because we were captured. I let him know who that was and not to feel bad and give him the night off and some spending cash. I am off to Rebma for some partying. I found my favorite group of friends and Moirwynn shows up to and we party like old times. Sometimes I forget how much fun it is just to be.
The dinner with Incarnadine went nowhere, so Dara and I left. We went
back to Glencora to get things in order. I spent the next day getting all of
the new "recruits" used to the vagaries of this shadow. Looking back on it
all, I can see now that the Hellgrams were just testing me to see what I
was made of. The more I dealt with them the more like family they seem.
The attack came that evening with The werewolves (Gareaux) from the next
shadow over, coming at us like lightning bolts. They were brought in via
logrus on the north and south. I had Sabine and Badger take the majority
of the army out into shadow so that we could hide them, and make taking
them into Coriolanopolis easier.
The battle was long and hard fought. Badger and Sabine came back and
helped but Badger was mauled by one of the Uber-werewolves (Gareaux).
Several of Dara's hellmaids were also wounded. When the battle had
settled down Dara trumped her operatives that she had sent to treat with
the Hellgrams. They had fought a running battle and were very banged up.
Some had been poisoned, and none of the were in anything near good health.
Dara had the gleam of vengeance in her eye, and wanted some Hellgram
heads on a few pikes. Badger all of the rest of the wounded were sent on
The assault on Coriolanopolis the next morning was a bit of a let down. I
had gathered some Gareaux of my own and turned them loose on the city as
a distraction. Sabine was not very happy with this (I will be paying for this
for a while), but Dara was happy. And then it hit us, as we entered the
Hellgram strong hold, they had left. They had left behind a mocking letter
hoping to meet with Dara and me some time in the future. Dara was beside
herself with rage.
I gathered up the Gareaux and took them back to there shadow. I did my
best to impart upon them that the next time I show up I will again lead
them to great hunting. They were very satiated and didn't seem to want to
commit one way or the other. Dara reported to me that her hellmaids told
her that the Hellgrams had developed a spell that blocked Trump, and that
was how they were trapped. One bright spot at least...something to
Pope Alexander wss in his prime in this place. After the burning of a few
heretics Coriolanopolis settled right down. I contacted #2 and reported to
him all that has transpired and focus on the Hellgrams ability to block
trumps with Spells. This troubled him, though he is glad that the Hellgrams
had left the first of the three shadows.
The next day Fineas trumped me and informed me that the Gryphon's were
attacking the shadow from which Amber's gun powder is extracted. To
arms, To arms. The battle went our way from the start. Two of the
Gryphon's were slain outright and the rest were sent packing without any
samples of the gun powder. Though, they must have gotten a sample from
somewhere, or at least found out about this shadow from someone. Either
Lirazel, or maybe a Rebman traitor.
The next bit is very odd. First off #2 wanted to have a standard way of
dealing with Chaosian prisoners. The Rebman contingent (Morwyn and
Diego) were of the opinion that the only good chaosian is a dead Chaosian.
Fineas and #2 were of the opinion that if we treated our prisoners well and
made trades, that it would bode well for any of us that may got captured in
the future. Theie argument carries the day, though Diego wonders off in a
sulk. There are several plans to deal with the Gryphon's. The one that wins
is to try and woo them (the Pattern users) to our cause.
The next bit of oddness is the woman Zhatra. By my count she claims to be
our Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother. She also claims to be
gaised to "save" the universe. No discussion on how and/or why. She had a
nifty fade in/out power. She is related to the Unicorn and the Tiger.
Fineas and #2 propose that she be our go between with Chaos to try end
this war. She grudgingly agrees.
As I am getting ready to leave and take my troops back to Coriolanopolis,
Zhatra comes up to me and conducts an interview. The only thing that I can
see is that is an Icon, or and interface with the real world. I give her the
answers that they would want to hear. After about ten minutes she smiles
and fades out.
On the way back to Coriolanopolis I make a detour for the troops. A R & R
shadow to get there morale back, Or at least show them that more of this
could happen in the future if they keep up the good work.