13 is good at scanning, but detecting the event from another shadow means that it involved one hell of a lot of power. He also discovered that the event had been stealthed, the Binding energy fallout directed away from Shadow Inferno and out into the strong links to its sister worlds.
For Jacob: If the Chaosite Binders got anything like the same oath Zhartra stuck him and Rinaldo with, they flatly could not have released the Beast. It would be contrary to the Mission. Zhartra has indicated, vaguely, that she initiated them.
(Along the same lines, if Jacob examines his feelings/compulsions he'll find that he can't let Zhartra die, or any other Binder who is doing his or her job. The Mission would suffer. If he thinks about what the former King of Chaos did, draining the Binder power for political reasons, he finds that the notion Really Pisses Him Off. Zhartra too, to judge by the beheading.)
Toriana and Fineas can judge that, so far as psychic and physical strain go, any Broken Pattern initiate should be able to survive mirrormastery initiation. Probably a fair number of the stronger shadow sorcerers could too.
The Redmantle (Rhas, Rhun and company) shroudlings never tried it out on anyone but their family and, now, Amberites and their 3 pure Chaosite Tir Tarngirans: Tiglath, Alit and Nolan.
According to Grania Helgram, her House intends to initiate no one beyond the family members. The spymaster in Amber is not an initiate, she's pretty sure. She was supposed to set up the lunar sprite message relay.
Galina has bound a couple of lunar sprites with Florimel's help. Galina sounds like she wants to acquire an array of bound sprites of various types.
Most lunar sprites are just as idiotic as most other elementals, but they are idiot savants about magic. They're good at analyzing spells, wards, enchantments and such. Stronger ones can disrupt spells. They're as fast as air or fire elementals in moonlight or the mirrorverse. They can't open or close mirrors but they can use very small mirrors that have been left "open".
Some psychic leakage from Rhun and Rhas: both value the alliance; Rhun flirts because it's good manners, gets good reactions and is a pleasant game; Rhas flirts with Toriana because he's interested: she's pretty, powerful, dangerous, refreshingly young, politically useful, evasive -- all the shroudlings have a tendency to chase things that run away. He picked up that Tori isn't sure how to take his interest. Fineas got just a little of that due to blocking hard and being distracted by Werewindle.
Fineas and Toriana picked up that Werewindle got a deeper level of mirror-mastery than either of them. Things gelled for Werewindle before they did for either of them but he -- Werewindle thinks of himself as male -- refrained from dumping them out of the roller-coaster ride.
Flora would like me to go help with the mapping of mirror verse. I gather my normal troops well the ones that Henrick says I need. I remember that before I head out to the mirror verse that I promised Fineas that I would check in on our guests. I thankfully remembered this before we left.
I have enough time to check in and do my duty before I am called away by Jacob screaming for help with Zhartra. She looks to be in very bad shape. He asks me to get help and I find Tanatheal well because this is important and because I do not trust Diego. I have to act as a breaker switch between Tanatheal, Jacob and Zhartra. She is going to make it and I still have other tasks to do. I make sure she is stable before I leave.
Galena, myself and Thirteen are the team set to map the verse. We make good time much of this is due to Galena having spent time here and becoming acclimated. We are able to locate someone near by using Logrus and decide to make them our priority. Capture them alive if possible dead if capture is not possible or if someone is in danger. We break it down and I decided that I could keep the Logrus master busy if the group could handle the rest of the baddies. This plan goes down remarkable well and there is not much downside. We are able to capture the Logrus master and bring him back to the castle. The guards are under direct orders not to allow Diego in the dungeon let alone the cell blocks.
We begin to question the prisioner and we are able to find out lots of useful things. I am sure that the family is going to be excited and of course we still have a ton of work to do.
A whole lotta things have been blowing up lately.
Diego seems to have gone off in a pout, and is not responding to trumps.
Zhartra was ripped a new one...sending Jacob in to a panic.
Uncle Bleys has recovered. It would seem that the soothing ode's penned by Oberon so many years ago have a healing effect on the flipping loony.
And Kirsten was unhappily bound.
I guess I'll talk about Kirsten first. She was not happy about Jacob binding her. In fact when he trumped her back to me she was fairly pouty. She wasn't even happy about the fact that Jacob's blood/binding had brought her up to at least to the appearance of a young woman in her late teens. She did not take any solace from the fact that she would have been killed if she wasn't bound. It did make her think, but not happy. She did perk up a bit as she trained in the Mirror-verse. I could almost see the gears turning in her head at the possibilities of the Mirror-verse.
Spent some more time in the Mirror-verse. It's seems that our dear sweet cousin Diego has yet again dropped the ball. He was supposed to have been fully trained and explored this hellhole. But no. That would have interfered with some quality ass kissing from the Amber public, or some such nonsense.
Galena is our guide on the Great Mirror-Verse expedition, or maybe it should be called the "Lost World". Things were just clicking along until we got a hold of something. We tracked it down and lo and behold another Helgram. They are everywhere. And yes we did not negotiate the Mirror-verse with Incarnadine. We will have to kick their asses all over again here. Tori was able to get some good info out of the Helgram. This was of course passed on to Flora.
But all of this started off with Jacob trumping us in a full bore panic over Zhartra being almost killed. Tori and I did a few magic tricks to keep her alive till we were able to get her back to Lynxia. This was when we learned that Diego was in a snit. He was not responding to trumps. If he had showed any sort of talent, besides the ability to piss off random members of the Family, or pine after Moire, I would have thought that he was responsible for Zhartra's current condition. Tanaitheel was brought in to work on Zhartra, and this is when the Great Mirror-verse expedition moved out.
Well, things have been hectic as of late.
No real way to beat around the bush.
First off that Wayward cousin of ours, Diego, disobeyed Gerard (again) and rescued our Uncle Bleys. I called him on it in the Family meeting. He seemed to feel that he deserved the praise and adulation of the Family with his "Selfless" deed. And yes, that is why Tori and I were forced to baby sit the crazy nutter later that Day.
Flora is in charge now. She seems to want to make a good impression on her brothers. She rules with an Iron Fist. It would seem that the fear of being a failure has driven her around the bend. I get the feeling that after years of playing the harmless little kitten, she needs to prove that she was really a tiger all along. I really hate to say it, but she is a bigger hard ass then Benedict.
So much is going on that I have not had any time to spend with Sabine...that is outside of the mission aspect of things. I shall have to try and tie up loss ends and make some time.
Benedict has finally grown a heart...and it is Dara shaped. After seeing her broken and busted in Lynxia, he hauled Badger, Gerard, and mom off on a genocidal tour of Inferno. Hopefully for his piece of mind much slayage will be had by all.
Tori and I seem to be getting along much better...after getting off on the wrong foot all those months ago. We were able to get the Hellgram's to agree to leave Amber controlled shadow. Though I don't really trust Incarnidine's word, I do have a healthy respect for the Helgram's.
I talked to Jacob about binding Kirsten. He seems to think that he will be able to do this and tells me that he will need to work on the wording but after that all should work out.
And lastly, the Regent Flora has decided that everybody needs to be trained on how to navigate in the Mirror-verse. so I'm off for training.
http://cryhavoc.bears-cave.com is now a viable internet address.
The True Life Adventures of Fineas of House Barimen
Prince of Amber
Day 73 PDS 9:30AM :
Flora has me on a short leash today. With Bleys recovering more quickly than one might expect and everyone else who has a clue about maintaining order out on a lark somewhere or laid up, she wants me close at hand. I am making my presence known amongst the population to settle jangled nerves. Rumors of a dire threat involving mirrors have spread throughout the city. I can see the anxious looks amongst the people in the street. My walking amongst them seems to have a calming effect so I have undertaken a walking tour of the city for my morningís exercise. Occasionally someone will gather the nerve to ask me about it. I smile, lie cheerfully and tell them there is nothing to worry about.
On a couple occasions I noted people handing out handbills or pamphlets on streetcorners. When they saw me approaching, they made themselves scarce. I did find a crumpled handbill denigrating Diego as a vile sort of chap. This was not my doing. I am beginning to think my fabricated propaganda about chaosian agents fomenting trouble may in fact be happening. I suppose it could be local supporters of Flora or Toriana. They certainly have reason. Still, I am expecting another publication entirely and will probably have to resort to agents or a disguise to obtain it.
Day 73 PDS 6:30PM:
My afternoon has turned out to be a bit more amusing. I decided to get in a little sparring after lunch and made my way to the practice rooms. There I encountered our two guests from the shroudling realm. Saia and her companion were busy sparring with the guards. I joined in and gave them all a good workout. Soon the conversation turned to amusements and ďactionĒ in Amber. I have experts on tap for that sort of thing so I trumped in Breggor to act as their guide to the finer points of bar hopping in the city. He was more than willing to undertake the task. After a quick bath, I paid a visit to Bleys and Toriana. He is doing much better and seemed to be getting a little restless. I thought getting him involved in my intrigue my be just the ticket to speed his recovery even further. I asked Tori to check on the shroudlings a bit later and obtained agreement from Bleys to help investigate the handbills I saw in the city. I promised Flora that I would look after Bleys and she agreed to let him out for a bit. We donned magical disguise and headed back to the city. Before long we were approached by one of the solicitors. He was handing out the Valeri diatribe I had been expecting. Bleys interrogated the fellow thoroughly and we found out the extent of the operation. We returned to the castle and reported our findings to Flora. She has sent a courier to request Valeri to present himself for questioning.
Day 74 PDS 8:30AM:
After a pleasant nightís sleep last night I journeyed to Kashfa to make an appearance there and to discuss Amber politics with Mom. She has arranged a social gathering for this evening. It should be diverting. I intend to discuss the improvement of relations with Begma with her once she has been placated.
Day 74 PDS 11:00AM:
An unexpected event has occurred. Although, thinking upon it now it should not have been unexpected. Zhartra was ambushed in shadow and lies critically wounded in Lynxia. Whoever did for Sand and Delwin apparently is still on the job. She was shot with a large caliber weapon and sustained massive damage. Diego is nowhere to be found. I had a brief conversation with him a couple days back and he had asked me to check in on his concubineís people now and again to make sure Marcus keeps his end of a bargain. At the time I thought nothing of it, but perhaps it foretells a lengthy absence from Amber for my cousin. In any case, Tanitheel is doing the healing this time and several of the family have donated blood or energy to keep Zhartra alive. I have been asked to contact her agents at the Keep to let them know what has happened. I am leaving now.
Day 74 PDS 3:30 PM:
Kurgan, her lackey watching over the well, accompanied me back to Lynxia. He was visibly shocked and angered that Zhartra was injured so badly. He was correspondingly grateful for the help we were providing. He is a big burly fellow with a mean look to him and I am much relieved that he views us as allies at the moment. I donated some blood (I seem to be doing that a lot the last few days) and returned to Kasfa to keep my social appointments there. I will need to rest before the event.
Day 74 PDS 12:00AM:
The party came off to Momís satisfaction. We discussed a great many things and have reached an agreement to improve relations with Begma, to begin placing allies in Amberís social institutions and to keep an eye out for trouble from whoever is trying to knock off the binders. Rinaldo is on that hit list and I really would not like to be put in the position of avenging my brother. Tomorrow is Kasynovichís hearing and I would not miss it for the world.
Day 75 PDS 11:00AM:
Valeri presented himself and his proof. It is currently being analyzed. I await the results with great relish. He really is a decent fellow deep down, he is just blinded by bigotry and intemperance. I shall try to rehabilitate him after his inevitable ruin. No one writes what he did without consequence.
Day 75 PDS 2:30PM:
The documents provided by Kasynovich have been shown to be forgeries. He immediately fell to his knees and begged the mercy of the court. It really was a bit sad to see. I felt a momentís regret, but only a momentís. He has been exiled from Amber until such time as the regent deigns to pardon him for his slander.
Day 75 PDS 4:30PM:
I have approached the Kandives with an offer to buy half of Die Tageszeitung as a gesture of support for their family. The old hag Mara readily agreed, probably assuming they would maintain total control and it was just a whim on my part. In any case, I will be paying a visit to the paper tomorrow to set that house in order. I also penned a letter to Valeri offering my assistance in obtaining the earliest possible pardon for him so that he may return to Amber. I explained that I believed he was the victim of a chaosian plot and was in fact loyal to Amber. He replied most gratefully, so I shall have to see if I can salvage his citizenship as soon as I can get an audience with Gerard. If I can find out who is slandering Diego, perhaps I can pin the whole thing on them as well.
Day 76 PDS 10:00AM:
My first meeting as a media tychoon went fairly well. I gave them a stirring speech about maintaining journalistic integrity and freedom. I encouraged them to continue publishing the news from the common manís perspective, to take up Diegoís banner and only admonished them not to print stories that canít be documented thoroughly. A minor member of the Kandive house will be taking over the editorial duties, but I intend to oversee a certain amount of the business. I think it safe to say the days of targeting myself and my brother as objects of undeserved scorn are over at Die Tageszeitung. I will wait and see what effect this has on The Herald Unicorn before embarking on any further journalistic vendettas.
Day 76 PDS 2:30PM:
The expedition into the Mirrorverse has already returned with a chaosian prisoner. She is a Helgram as I feared. Worse, they have a number of Mirror Masters within House Helgram and obviously have a head start on exploiting that realm. What to do?
Cry Havoc- Session 33
Fineas is stuck hanging around the Amber area at Flora's beck and call. He decides to do the political thing and goes around reassuring the populace about the mirror threat, glad-handing various noble houses and failing utterly to ease his boredom. He finally resorts to a workout session in the castle with the two shroudling guests, wrestling and fencing the afternoon away. They indicate their desire for some entertainment, so Fineas brings in Breggor Feldane to show them the town. Once they are on their way, Fineas stops by Bleys' room to check in on Bleys and Toriana. He asks that Tori check up on the shroudlings to make sure they are not up to something funny and talks Bleys into a tour of the new Amber to check on some suspicious literature being passed out.
After her chat with Fineas, Tori is contacted by Flora and tasked with the mapping and scouting of the mirrorverse along with Thirteen and Galena. She will be allowed her usual retinue, so she makes arrangements for supplies and gathers the Weir and Jacob's guy tasked to watch her. She delays the preparations long enough to be able to check on the shroudlings as requested.
Jacob trumps Thirteen to work out the details and parameters of Kirsten's binding. He pulls Thirteen and Kirsten through to Sand's abode for the ritual. Kirsten's fascination with and desire for empowered blood is manipulated to get her to agree to the binding. She gets a shotglass full of Jacob's enchanted blood and is bound per the agreement. She grows a bit as a result, approaching the apparent age of seventeen. It is likely her boobs will get much bigger now. Thirteen is pleased. Jacob is pleased. Kirsten is somewhat less so when she realizes that rules will now be more strictly enforced. Thirteen and Kirsten depart and Jacob goes off to do secret stuff. The log keeper is pleased.
After getting Kirsten bound, Thirteen is contacted by Flora and given his new assignment: Keep Galena and Toriana from getting killed while they stumble around the mirrorverse mapping the place. Thirteen decides to take Kirsten for a field test. He leaves Sabine and Genevieve at home for a change. He is told that Rhun from the Tir shroudlings will be accompanying them. He is suddenly contacted in Lynxia and has to pull through a severely wounded Zhartra and Jacob. Zhartra has a huge hole in her, apparently having been shot with an elephant gun. The wound would normally have been fatal but Jacob has used the binding power to keep her parts in place and sort of functioning. Much panic ensues and various people are trumped in to donate blood/energy to keep Zhartra alive. Tanitheel takes over the healing as Diego is not answering any trumps and no one knows where he is.
Fineas is aware that Valeri Kasynovich has published his diatribe against Gerard and is covertly distributing it through the streets of Amber. He talks Bleys into disguising themselves for a little covert investigation. In fact, two sets of pamphlets are being distributed. One is an anti Diego broadsheet, the other is Valeri's work. Bleys does a little mindraping of one of the people handing out Valeri's publication and the details are learned. Fineas is pleased that his plan has worked and the two dutifully take the seditious literature to Flora for action. She seems unconcerned with the anti-Diego literature but agrees that the anti-Gerard stuff requires immediate action. A summons is sent to Valeri to explain himself and a hearing is set.
Toriana checks up on the shroudling guests before it is time to go on her mission. They are enjoying themselves without getting into too much trouble. No apparent nefarious activity is taking place, so Tori returns to report to duty. She is introduced to Rhun, the representative from the shroudlings who will be assisting in the mapping expedition. He is politely flirtatious but seems genuinely eager to help. She joins up with the rest of the crew and they prepare to enter the Mirrorverse.
Jacob returns to the shadow where Zhartra was shot to try and track her assailant. He first questions some Brotherhood informants that had originally sent Zhartra to shadow to investigate weird doings. The Brotherhood tells him everything they know and he learns the location of the shadow. Once there, he discovers a ruin used to bind some sort of nasty elderkin. He searches around and finds the position of the shooter and where Zhatra was when she was shot. A very faint Broken Pattern trail leads off into shadow and is lost in the larger paths that have normal traffic. From what little was learned from Zhartra, it was determined the shooter had vampire abilities. This leads to some early speculation that Hellgram was involved.
The Mirrorverse expedition embarks into the unknown. Good progress is made once Galena gets the hang of things. Deeper in, they begin to detect the traces of power use, notably Logrus and Mirror Mastery. They proceed cautiously, attempting to sneak up on the source of the power. After a day, they need to rest, but they have gotten close enough to set an ambush for the enemy force.
Fineas drops in on Kashfa to see his mother and to make an official appearance. A party is scheduled, but before too long Fineas learns of Zhartra's mishap and makes a quick trip to the Keep to alert one of her people of what has happened and to bring him to Lynxia. Fineas meets Kurgan and escorts him to Lynxia. Kurgan is very thankful for the help Zhartra is receiving and stays to watch over her recovery. Fineas donates a bit more blood before returning to Kashfa for the social event. There he discusses political events in Amber with his mother and reveals the success of his plan to ruin Valeri. Jasra is pleased.
The ambush is set and a nice little altercation erupts in the Mirrorverse when the chaos patrol walks into the ambush. It is comprised of three vampires, a few nasty looking beastie guards, about fifteen brownie slaves a couple shroudling slaves and one chaosian Logrus master. Tori puts the psychic smackdown on the Logrus master while the rest physically attack. Much fun is had. All the vampires are slain, the slaves freed, the monsters killed and the chaosian captures and returned to Amber for questioning. None of our heroes are hurt too badly, though Kirtsen gets thrown a ways when she takes on one of the big orange monsters in hand to hand combat. Galena gets to use her fledgling fighting skills and manages to stay alive. Toriana is pleased, Thirteen is pleased.
Jacob returns to the shadow to investigate the ruins more closely. Whatever is bound there seems to still be there but the bindings had been warped slightly. He figures it was the diversion used to capture Zhartra's attention while the shooter got the drop on her. That means at least two were involved. No further signs are found. It is unclear whether the vampire had Broken Pattern or if the person warping the bindings was the initiate and the vampire was just along for muscle. Jacob mulls over the possibilities and resolves to check on his buddy Griv for some possible insight.
Fineas returns to Amber to attend Valeri's hearing. It pretty much goes as planned with Valeri's supposed evidence against Gerard quickly debunked and Valeri begging for mercy from the court for having been duped by enemies of Amber. He is exiled from Amber for an indefinite period but is free to go with no further punishment. Fineas is very pleased. Fineas writes a letter to Valeri basically saying that he believes it was a chaosian plot targeting the Kandives and that he would work to get Valeri pardoned as soon as possible. He then approaches Lady Mara of Kandive to propose buying half the interest of Die Tageszeitung as a way of easing the embarrassment. The deal is done. The next day a Kandive representative accompanies Fineas to the offices of Die Tageszeitung where the change in management is announced. Fineas tells the staff to maintain their journalistic integrity but that overt censorship was not planned. The paper is to remain pro-Diego but is to be very careful in criticism of others without thoroughly investigated documentation. The Kandives are to retain day to day management.
The cousins triumphantly inform the family of their capture and a whole new round of interrogations of the prisoner take place under Tori's supervision. It is learned that it is House Hellgram using the Mirrorverse to spy on the rest of chaos. They are planning an imminent assassination campaign using this advantage to seize control in chaos. Due to the cell structure of the House, the prisoner is unaware of the details of other operations. It is learned that Incarnadine is known by the name Diamonte within House Hellgram. Hellgram has a number of Mirror initiates now and no longer have to rely upon shroudling captives. Bad news overall. Discussions take place amongst the family about who to warn in chaos. It is learned that Jesby is the most dangerous foe to Hellgram at the moment.
Jacob unknowingly blows Griv's infiltration attempt against House Chanicutt when he trumps him and Griv is forced to come through the trump. He debriefs Griv about what has been going on in Chaos. Same old news, the civil war continues though Hellgram is probably in the best shape. Jacob then heads out to check on a couple more elderkin. He locates the "Toad-man" known as Katanathoa and by verbal sparring learns that "someone was moved". Jacob is no longer pleased.
Sorry I didn't describe this very well. I thought I had a good handle on it but it got better by leaps and bounds during the session.
There are four levels of the Mirrorverse. The first connects to the normal universe via mirrors. Taken as a whole it's huge but still miniscule compared to the normal realm. It's also divided up into separate mirror-shadows. 'Twists', folds in space, provide shortcuts within a given mirror-shadow. A few Junctions within a mirror-shadow lead to the next level. Junctions leading 'down' are tens of miles away from mirrors leading out or from each other, reached via more or less stable corridors -- 20' to 200' wide, no walls except for bent space. Mirrorworld Specializations allow people to detect and use Twists. Basic, 5 point, Mirrormastery lets people detect and use Junctions leading to Level 2.
The second level is much smaller and there are no mirrors leading out. Each discrete Secondary plane corresponds to a region of Shadow. Corridors lead from one Junction to another. There's rarely anything but corridors unless someone has Shaped an area into something different. Junctions leading 'up' are separated by a couple of miles, usually. Junctions leading 'down' are farther apart, more like 30 - 50 miles. 10 point Mirrormastery lets people find and use Junctions to Level 3.
The third level is, again, much smaller and set up the same way. It corresponds to nearly all of the realm of order's shadows. Junctions leading 'up' average 30 to 50 miles apart and are associated with Broken Patterns, those leading 'down', to the Border, are hundreds of miles apart. 15 point Mirrormastery lets you detect and use Junctions to the Border level.
The fourth or border level is actually three separate mini-planes 'under' the Dancing mountains with junctions in each 'up' to the realm of order and to Chaos. That's where the other Logrus trace was, at one of these minis.
Using Junctions is disturbing to non-initiates of Mirrormastery. Not a big deal to Amberites or BP initiates, but Kirsten and Rivan needed time to settle their nerves after each Junction move.
On the scale the mapping group was using the 3rd and 2nd levels were clear, but after that the number of connections multiplies out into a sort of fractal fuzz outside the areas of intense interest -- Junctions from Amber, Rebma (if Toriana was worried about them) and Tir Tarngir.
Magical energy flows down the corridors and the Junctions. It is flavored by the source shadows it came from, accounting for the irregularity of magical properties in the mirrorverse. Mirrormastery does not help with that, unless combined with Pattern (or, to a lesser degree Broken Pattern); Galina was barely inconvenienced. Pattern alone helps some, BP half as much. Essentially, you Shape the magic into the flavor you want -- matching the way your spells were hung.
Shaping bits of the Mirrorverse is difficult with Mirrormastery alone, far easier with Mm + Broken Pattern and easier than that with Mm + real Pattern. More Mirrormastery helps and more Pattern, especially Probability control, helps. [Specializations in Shaping are also possible.] You can't make living things; they'd have to be imported. You could, however, bring some garden dirt (with all its microfauna) and some seeds and cause them to rapidly multiply. Rhune says that Shaped areas always needed regular tending or they's slowly revert. Pattern seems to make the changes more permanent; the Gestalt felt that the palace would be there for centuries.
Flora's special Trumps got harder to use at deeper levels, as if the distance were much greater. The mirrorverse does not seem to be a Amber to Chaos Trump landline.
Rhune on the Bluemantle family: (after you work through the diplomatic language) Jerks. They aren't enemies of the Redmantles (Rhune's family) but they don't intermarry. Treat their servants badly, tend to needless cruelty (you get the impression that it takes a lot of needless cruelty to irritate Rhune), arrogant, shortsighted. But not deserving of this. The Bluemantle brownies fit that description, you've all seen chronically ill-treated servants and know the signs.
So, did you let Rhune in on the interrogation of Astolat Helgram? He's definitely interested in what she and Melegar Bluemantle have to say. He Trumped Vayla in and briefed her.
Benedict seemed to have taken note of the way the Queen Grams did things and decided that the family needed to give myself and Rinaldo official support for our new job. Seemed like a fair thing to do, seeing as how the job was basically ďdonít let anything unnatural eat people that donít deserve itĒ and most of my cousins and kin would like to think that applies to them.
Most times theyíd even been right.
He didnít cotton to my idea to Bind Bleys until he he started behaving properly, though. It wasnít, I donít reckon, that it was a bad idea for anyone, even Bleys, but with everyone looking on the first thing thatíd come to their mind would be ďhow long before someone decides I need some taming?Ē
Heís probably right -- wouldnít want to give folks warning.
I mentioned that we really ought to have a sit-down with everyone and lay out a few ground rules for times when they stumble across one of the impromptu prisons that someoneís set up for some elderkin or other -- the main one being ďdonít feed the damn animalsĒ -- he was already planning for something like that, so I got myself added to the agenda and set off to do some book learning in Lynxia where it wouldnít waste anyoneís time but my own.
I couldnít keep my nose jammed in Delwinís journalís all the time, though, so I spent some time sparring and wrestling with a few folks when the words started to swim away from me.
Eventually, I got a call from Flora to let me know that she was calling up the meeting and that she was acting Regent for the moment -- seems Benedict had gotten wind of harm done to Dara (his daughter, Iíve already gathered) and gathered up Gerard to teach a few folks some manners. Thatís an etiquette course Iíd give a good deal to watch and pay double to say out of.
I wasnít sure Flora knew much about the bits Iíd planned on saying at the meeting, so I filled her in a bit and stepped through.
I found out at the meeting that Benedict and Gerard had taken Badger, Martin, and Thirteenís mother (Mirelle) with em. I had a bit of a twinge hearing that about Martin, but it was more guilt for not seeing him since our night on the town than of worry -- he certainly seemed like he knew how to take care of himself and at any rate worrying about someone traveling with Gerard and Benedict doesnít show much aptitude for using your time wisely. Surprised me that the other two had taken along one of their sisters with em on something like that, since most of the womenfolk from that generation didn't seem worth much, but this lady, she sounds alright. Might have to introduce myself and see if there ain't at least some part of that gene pool that didn't come out alright.
Flora also mentioned that Diego had hauled Bleys the crazy back from where ever the hell heíd been, which Iíd already known, and that there were spies creeping around in the Mirrorrealm, which I hadnít. She reminded everyone to get familiar with fighting over on that side of things (something Iíd yet to do) and mentioned that she was working on Trumps the worked over there -- seemed you need to know how both Trump and the mirrors work before you can get the one to work with the other, and she meets the requirements. (It donít surprise me much that Flora dove right into a power based on mirrors, but thatís neither here nor there.)
Diego seemed a might bit peeved over Trumps working over in the Mirrorrealm, but he donít seem happy breathing unless heís got something ruffling his feathers, so I just ignored the whole thing -- seems to be the best way to deal with him in most cases and certainly hasnít steered me wrong yet.
I said my standing up piece about telling the Family to Leave Bound Creatures the Hell Alone and glared a Tori a few times so she got the point.
Afterwards I headed back to Lynxia (which Diego had said had quite a few mirror spies around and had, naturally, then been put in charge of dealing with them). Before I got back to the books I grabbed all my gear and had someone take me to the other side of the Looking Glass for a little poking around. None of the damn gunpowder worked. He swung some sharp things at folks to get the feel of the place and messed with my springbolts. Zariel didnít care for the place at all, but at least I know he can handle it for short stretches. When I finished that up I goes back to the books. The way I read it, Dworkin and Delwin both had a habit of bleeding themselves and making diamonds and whatnot out of them -- especially Bindings and weapons, so I know my natural inclinations ought to suit this right down to the ground.
Just to get the last bit squared away before things get complicated again, I headed out to Sandís place and gathered up her notes as well (some of them were missing as well, and I didnít have near the same luck as I had at Delwinís with remaking the things. On the other hand, it looks like Sand had done some real interesting things with projectiles and blood-diamond bullets.
That got me thinking about a little bullet trick that might give me a few more options with my guns.
Real intriguing, but there always seems to be about three good ideas for every one idea's worth of time that I've got.
The World of a Princess
There are times when family should remain lost. When Dwarkin says you should just let someone have some time before bringing him or her back to the family then really they should stay lost. I did mention that Dwarkin is half crazy and even he knows bringing Bleys back to Amber is a bad idea. This fact is of course lost on our less mentally endowed cousin Diego. He has decided to take it upon himself to throw Bleys on the family. Of course he canít look after Bleys because he lacks the skills required either mentally or physically.
I decided to go visit Dara. She doesnít look like she won the fight by much. I guess any is enough but it was not much. If I am feeling this way at seeing her then I know Benedict would want to see her or he might not forgive himself. I trump him and he does want to see her. I hold while he runs some errands and eventually comes through. He is going to stay here for a time. I am needed back in Amber for the family meeting.
Flora is taking over the regency in Gerard and now Benedictís absence. We are to spend time in the mirror realm. There is nothing really shocking here. Benedict wants me to see what I can do for Bleys as I am one of the best people to handle his situation.
The brunt of the babysitting duties will be handled by me, and secondarily handled by Fineas. While we were putting in the IV drip, he awoke and was quite lucid. He does not have the ability to trump without a trump in his hand. This is quite a relief because he has already had enough drugs pumped into his system I would hate to have to pump more in him. He thinks he might be able to break out if he needed to. He is going through withdrawal symptoms and it is more than I can handle now so I remember Llewella saying I could overpower Bleys if I needed to and right now, I needed to for everyoneís peace of mind. I did it. I knocked him out. There was six hours of really nice quiet time. Fineas and I give him some food when he came to this time and shortly after his body starts convulsing again and I knock him out mentally again. Fineas is going to take over for a bit so I can go take a break and get some rest.
We could use a few medals for the princes and the regent to hand out. Unfortunately, the only real ones I can even name are the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Congressional Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross and Croix de Guerre.
[Very sorry about this -- thought it had already been posted, somehow -- got it confused with the other diceless game I journaled the day after, I guess.]
Diego brings in Bleys. Benedict does not look pleased. Toriana and Benedict discuss the situation. Benedict takes Diego aside to get the details. He tells Diego to get some rest. Benedict sends Diego to do toxicology reports and see what is in Bleys's blood.
Fineas heads back to Rebma. He prepares a party. He invites politically important people. Fineas trumps Benedict to find out what is going on. Fineas reminds Benedict that Bleys is a trump artist and it might be good to have Toriana look after him.
Thirteen gets praise from Benedict for the Helgram job. Thirteen finds out that Diego brought Bleys back. Thirteen trumps to Sabine in Purgatory.
Toriana visits Dara and gives her a piece of Baran. She trumps Benedict so he can see Dara. He gives Toriana instructions for his absence.
Jacob offers to bind Bleys until he's "safe". Benedict points out that this is a bad idea. They discuss binding as family business. They discuss Dworkin and his situation.
Diego prepares for the research. The drug affects Diego even through precautions. Fineas volunteers some of his blood for Bleys. He suspects that Bleys is going to go through withdrawals. Diego gets tired and decides to warn the guards and sleeps in Lynxia. He gets back to Amber the next day and Flora is in charge. Family meeting in an hour.
Benedict trumps Flora and orders her to take control of Amber. Gerard is going to keep an eye on Benedict's back. There are spies in the mirrorverse. Fineas suggests an attack on the mirrorverse. Flora and Fineas discuss who could be behind the spies.
Thirteen is getting things out to Arden from Purgatory. Thirteen wakes Derkon and inquires about the shadow of Limbo. He gets a status report. They discuss Bleys and how Diego disobeyed orders to rescue the crazy uncle.
Benedict is upset at seeing Dara in the condition she is in -- prepares to move Dara. Benedict and she go back to Amber. Flora is put in charge of Amber in Benedict's absence.
Jacob bundles his books up and prepared to depart for Lynxia. He alternates between reading and sparring when he has had too much book studying. He shows a lot of interest in the section in Delwin's books on The Hounds, detailed in the Journal he had to recreate. Flora trumps him for a family meeting that he actually already knew about via Benedict.
Thirteen gets a trump call. He ignores it until it becomes annoying -- it does. He takes it. It's Flora family meeting. He asks her for a sketch but she sends a man she can trump later.
Flora calls the meeting to order. She lets everyone know that she is acting regent. Benedict, Gerard, Martin, Mirelle and Badger are off fighting Garou. She informs everyone of the Helgram victory. She informs everyone that Diego brought Bleys back and there are spies on the inside -- so says Diego. She hands out a picture of the medallion (lost my notes on what this is). Flora also tells people that they have to spend some time in the mirrorrealm. She is making sketches of areas within in her "free time".
Jacob talks about the binding power and advises the Family to Leave the Bound Creatures Bound. Flora also mentions knighthood options for about a dozen people for service to the crown or country.
Diego discovers that Galina is better at the mirror power than he is. He knows that people have been here recently snooping around. He decides to try and track it by scent. The thing they are tracking is quick. Looks like a man-sized ferret. He follows it quickly as a big cheetah. He comes to an open mirror and he looks in. The thing looks to have gotten away with some spells. There was a battle with the were and their ferret man escaped as well. People are ordered to remove the mirrors in their homes any unnecessary mirrors.
Fineas goes to his manner and removes all the mirrors except one. He readies a booby-trap for the one that is left. He has the weapon for the trap blessed. He trumps Vaila. They discuss Benedict and Dara, and the mirror realm and trumps. He askes about House Griffin and thier abilities in the mirror realm.
Thirteen & Toriana
Jacob goes to Lynxia (twice in one session -- the heavens tremble at the implications). He grabs all the toys he can to play with in the mirrors. None of the gunpowders works. [There is some cursing at this point.] He spars with whomever he can find to spar with, and makes Zariel spend time there as well. Zariel is not pleased. Jacob wrestles with one of Galina's bodyguards. When he is done in the mirrors he goes back to the books. Dworkin had a habit of bleeding himself and making diamonds and other things out of them -- in some cases they seem to have been used on Bindings or in weapons.
Finally, he trumps to Sand's place.
Diego takes Clark and Garcia to Lynxia to go into the mirror realm. Diego spends 5 days here running people through the mirror realm. He hands out sniffers to some people in Lynxia. They come across a millipede and it attacks a party member. It retreats and Diego follows it. The bad millipede must die. He shoots it with a contact bomb. It charges him, unimpressed with his blade. The millipede latches on to his thigh. He decides not to retreat and fights with the creature, but after taking stock of the situation he decides to retreat instead of losing people. He fixes his leg and trumps Llewella. He whines to Llewella about being found and what Toriana might be doing to Bleys. She tells him to take it up with the regent. Diego trumps Gerard [note: not the regent] to complain about Toriana being left with Bleys and that she might harm him.
Fineas tries to decide which house is behind the mirror spies and if Griffin still has the contacts to discover who it is behind the spying. They discuss what needs to be done and what they can do. He trumps Llewella to ask if someone in trouble might trump to her. She agrees. He offers his help should she require it. He goes back to the castle and talks to Kelemon.
Thirteen reports for mirror training duty. Flora asks about Geniveve and the sentient cows and is less than comforted by both bits of information. He tells her that Bleys is awake. She sends him to Lynxia for training. Galina and her bodyguards are there. He also hears about the chase and the confrontation with Diego and the millipede. Thirteen learns about open mirrors and what is possible when using that power.
Toriana decides she has had enough of Bleys yelling and knocks him out. She gets Diego's notes, stocks the medications suggested and an IV drip for hydration. She adjusts the medication until the proper balance can be established. Bleys swears at her some more. Flora sends her ice cream to feed him. Toriana calls Fineas to have him relieve her so she can sleep. While she is gone Fineas reads to him from Oberon's poetry book.
Jacob gets Sand's journal and reads those as well. They talk about the blood bomb thing she used right before her death.
It feels grand to have dinner with my family, and only need to check the wine for poison once
Of course I would be referring to my mother's side of the family. for one of the rare times In the past few months, I do not have the sensation of being Prometheus strapped to the wheel of perpetual emasculation. I feel renewed walking in my ancestral homeland. I leave Amber, and the constant rain on my parade turns to nothing but a forecast of sunshine. coincidence? I think not. Viva Espana ! Viva Vulnavia !
Dearest Sister (Morwyn),
I can't thank you enough for attending the "family meeting", and the vast amount of comfort you have provided for me in my most difficult days. You and your family mean the world to me. Your Birthday presents have been completed, and are awaiting you in Dom-daniel . Please pick them up at your earliest convience.
I have so much more to tell you, but it must wait. Please know that I will do anything for you, and I will always be proud to call myself your brother NO MATTER WHAT !!
I have been busy. I have been largely in the mirror universe, working with associates, and not taking taking those damnable trumps, I so much prefer the gentle art of letter writing. I worked in Espana, began some new security measures, and called a symposium of great scientific minds in conjunction with Clark to address the current crisis.
Firstly back in Espana. I will offer you a chain of items and events, and let you make your own conclusion. Clark, the mirror power, a thousand year old sorcerer avenging the death of his only child, carnivorous wasps that had been burning a hole in my pocket, Africans with gas rifles designed for the occasion, more angry Africans, clackers, my father in-laws film production facilities, thousands of enraged Spaniards, clackers, new weapons, a fleet of trucks, cousins, clackers, the support of B.D.R., and Voodoo. I will offer comment as to the role of Garcia. I am simply in awe. Hell, Amber, or chaos have no fury to compare. I would have to see what happens if anyone tries to mess with the tiny island we call home. My grandfather and I walked into a new chapter in our relationship, and a newfound respect for each other. In a feat of pericelian oratory, I have arranged a date for him with Isabella. I will make an honest man of him yet. as a special thank you to Gramps, I gave him Franco, and exclusive use of a special cell I had prepared for him.
The following chain of events is easy enough to deduce. a deeply felt family reunion, the marzipan just like I remembered with Kylikki, the first tasty dinner in a long time, seeing the cousins who didn't abandon me, and an increasingly rapid return to order. I will leave out the precious details.
Then back to Vulnavia. Our first reports came back from exploration of the new shadow paths, and it looks as if dear old dad left me some presents to be received if I ever was able to find them after walking the pattern. There was even a message left for me. some jaws would drop if they read it, but it is my turn to keep secrets. other then that I will say that I brought some plans to fruition, and diversified my resources.
and about the symposium. The idea had been an ongoing discussion with Clark, and I for some time as to who to invite, and how to host it. It is getting eery how clark, and I have developed a gentle and constructive rivalry, finish each other's sentences, and he is far too good at the mirror power. We heard rumors that Professor Heinrich Omen, and his legendary sky city were floating over europe, so we used the mirror power to investigate. The end result is he has been granted asylum in vulnavian territorial water, and agreed to a mutual defense agreement as well as joining our brain trust. We had an august body, and very informative meeting for all involved. I have added Dr. Claudario Batore from Bexico, and Dr. Raymond Scott. There were many people from our partner shadows there as well we are working on mutual defense arrangements, and project ark. The Past months have revealed to me 2 new universes, and I know there are more. I know that the etheric power lines likely extend my home planets gas shell from professor Omen. It only stand to reason that with places as slimy as amber and chaos ruling here that somewhere out there there has to be decent people holding things together. I have top men working on it. The food tasted really good
I also tied some things up with Fineas, Lewella, and Sorak
I didn't realize how compulsively addicted to cleanliness I had become over the past few months, even beyond the demanding requirements of my profession. spells, industrial cleansing agents, shedding my own skin, and innumerable near scalding showers were common, if not daily. Kylikki pointed it out to me. After dealing with Amber I needed to feel clean. I will feel clean. Things are going much better with kylikki now that I can relax, and by relax I mean actually get some work done.
The nice things about Reese, to spite his yellow belly, were that I sensed an unspoken pact of non involvement in each others affairs between us, and that he had the good sense to avoid the brat. Both those were shattered at the "family meeting" with his unwarranted personal attack. Benedict knew what I was doing. To make himself look like a complete ass, Reese made his claims after it was revealed that the crown had held new powers secretly that would have been able to remove his objections to his perceived failure of my rescue mission. I will never be able to understand how a place with so little bureaucracy could be so hideously ineffective. A simple thank you would have been nice.
I doubt amber's arrogance will give them an ability to see how colossal a catalog of missed opportunities they have created. I could have conceivably provided armies of shape-shifters, tens of billions to the war treasury, and so much more if i had been supported, and treated with respect, or simply treated according to the rules that define family across most of creation. If risking my life didn't earn me a scrap of kindness, what I was working on for Benedict would have, but they will never know now. I could count myself lucky to of had such a research opportunity. I would have been the envy of every biologist I know, having been given the opportunity to study evolution directly from my own family line, but one can't examine a patient in constant psychotic denial. that is the problem with immortality, it stops evolution, and preserves it for observation. Immortality is just another spelling for greed. I am a paradox then, the immortal who is all about evolution. I perversely look forward to the day when I can give my body back to the earth after I have done all that I set out to do. That happy day is a long way away, but now it is moving closer again.
I cannot stay where my passions must always swell up inside me, and never flow to my hands or mouth.
Amber, and I do have one thing in common. we both like to associate with people we consider worthwhile. They define worthwhile as ego gratification, and personal utility, I define worth as virtue, and integrity. I apparently have no utility, as I am twice denied the chance to do what I do best, heal people. Even Benedict , whom I had invested so much in, thought it would be acceptable to give his only child second best, and I certainly have no intention of caressing egos of the wicked. I rescue Bleys, and am denied again. I am not safe there.
I had hoped the place could/ would have been more then a rouge house of chaos, I was wrong.
(Torriana) that bitch.
she routinely assumes the regency in her head, and gives orders like she is the regent. I make constructive suggestions privately, and get accused of plotting against the throne. I inadvertently slander a family member, and get chastised. she makes a habit of constantly overtly and covertly defaming me, and is still the golden child. She wanted a fight, and by not giving her one, I win. Even if I was to be sneaky, and take her out, there would be hell to pay for me in the aftermath. It is time amber learned that it's rude infant princess has a price. It would not be a worthy use of my time to engage in this conflict, because she is already stalked by two of histories greatest assassins, recklessness and arrogance, If and when they accomplish the inevitable, I will lift a glass to their health. I now know it was her in Dom-Daniel.
As to my time with Amber, I have to ask myself if was it worth biting the apple?
was it worth having a family portrait it of monsters burned into my head?
was it worth waking to forever remember the nightmare?
was it worth having moire driven away by the monsters?
the answer is HELL NO. I reserve the right to revise this opinion if I see my grand children.
I have spent little to no time directly talking to my associates in Vulnavia, but now I finally got a chance to have a long talk with Reverend Henry Jones, and ask what I should do...
" I have been deeply worried about you Diego. I hear stories about your family, and attend your semi regular briefings. I may only have a glimpse of your father's side of the family, but I have known you for well over a century. I have never seen you lie or cheat (well there were those times I was drunk...). I am not even able to count all the people you have helped at personal expense with no possibility of reward. I have seen you fight bravely for the freedom of people you never even knew. I have seen how important family is to you. If they can't make you happy, and feel safe, with war and a universe of pain/ suffering to rectify, I doubt there are too many people worth having they could make relationships work with at all. I look at what you can do, and I see the hand of god at work (he knows I will never believe in god until I get a slice of him on a petri dish, and run tests, but It doesn't stop him from trying.). I have thought about it a great deal, and I think the lord gave us you like he gave us Noah.
My ark may be a zeppelin, and my zoo may be fetal specimens stored in chemical vats, but the principle is really the same. I aim to be around to light my pipe on the smoldering ashes of civilization, and throw the first handful of seeds. I can see clearly the time in an empty and charred universe when the only words reverberating infinitely across the lifeless void, that is the legacy of Amber's failure, will be mine saying " I TOLD YOU SO !! "
but, I have learned to have contingency plans as well....
It is time I took my wives for a long overdue ride.
I must remember to send a postcard to my dear sister from time to time.
Group magic is fairly common among shadow mages, especially in the good schools. Rebmans of the House of Lir look down on it, at least a bit; they think they're powerful enough to do anything they need to do by themselves. Usually they're right. In Amber... heh.
Still, Toriana was taught the basics, Sabine taught 13 the basics, Fineas absobed the basic facts just living with Jasra and Rinaldo, and Jacob has seen it on occasion.
With a gestalt, which is what you need to really combine power (Mental stat) and blend Powers, you sort of make an artificial group personality. One or more people provide Purpose, others Desire, others Balance and others Limits. So it really works better with at least 4 people. The more people, if they know what they're doing, the less leakage. The set Purpose, etc. also cut down on leakage as the participants become monomaniacs -- hence the need for Limits. The person with the power or specializations best suited for the Purpose fills that role. The most powerful (highest Mental) is best for Desire, the person most experienced with gestalts is best for Balance and the most disciplined or the biggest worrywort is best for Limits. The Hunacans are decent at doing gestalts with crowds. The Gaians are very good with their groups of 50.
The big drawback is that you're physically helpless and breaking the gestalt, as opposed to shutting it down properly, hurts. On the other hand, if there's one non-Purpose thing a gestalt can agree on, it's self defense.
Salutations Aunt Flora,
I hope the annoyances of the regency do not weigh upon you too heavily yet. I have been thinking about the discussion at the last family meeting regarding the knighthoods. As you know, I have relied heavily upon a couple of individuals to support my activities. The first is Liam of House Miramon. Although he prefers to stay out of the limelight, I would like to make some gesture of gratitude for his assistance in supporting me in the field. I am not sure a knighthood is the appropriate venue for that gratitude and would like to ask your opinion on the matter. The second is my paramour Ky-Tung.
She has already done good service to Amber and has indicated a willingness to continue doing so. I would not offer her a knighthood immediately but I would certainly want to make sure her ongoing efforts are noted. In time, a knighthood for her may become appropriate but at the present time it would be construed by the public and possibly Ky-Tung herself as a mere perk for warming my bed. She will want to feel that she has earned the honor and be seen to have earned it. Accordingly I intend to make a great deal of use of her skills in the service of Amber in the months to come. I only ask that her performance be noted so that when the appropriate time comes there will be no question as to her worthiness. It is my hope that she eventually earn the higher order of knighthood for service to Amber.
I thought about recommending a couple of other shadow dwelling allies be recognized as well. I would suggest that some lesser honor than knighthood be created for such allies as Emperor Bono, Prince Eugen, Badger and possibly even Derkon (though any honor granted to him may have consequences).
Your Nephew Fineas
Some more pics up on the NPC list.