June 11, 2003
Diego's last? journal: Two Tasty Dinners, and Dear Old Dad

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 !!
Love always-
D-

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.

Noah hmmmm....
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.

Posted by Doyce at 12:43 AM Comments (4)
May 25, 2003
journal

I rushed to speak with Benedict. I tried communication, but he seemed to have been possessed by the spirit of his neanderthal brother. (g.m.s. - gerard menstrual syndrome: not only do you become moody, but your ability to reason drops to a level below grammar school as well). After risking my life, and coming back bloodied with valuable information I still get the holier then thou treatment. I presented plans, and instead of taking what is good, and having a real discussion and solving problems it immediately becomes about punching holes in the plan while acting as if I should be grateful for the noblesse oblige. After about he punched the third hole in my plan (holes that were created, by the fact that there is no information sharing down from the highest levels, so you would think he could spare some criticism) I start to loose focus like I do when torriana gets indignant that her world doesn't interact with objective reality. I start imagining a trombone playing in the background. I remember the time I saw the Louie Barmstrong Hot Eight with my wife, and they played the song "empty out my bucket"

...every time I start feeling high you gotta knock me down a few pegs
flatten my tires
pluck my plume with some pliers
take all of my good rooster eggs
do you have to empty out my bucket just to fill your pail?
pump all the suds out of my bath tub heart
so you can wash your hair
you've got your hand in my pocket,
pull the plug from the socket, and suck the wind right out of my sails.
... you'd give anything to see me fail.

I tell him I will have to revise the rest of my plan, in light of the new information. I doubt he could handle my discovery today.
I was looking forward to periodically sitting down for a drink with Benedict, and trying to work out problems, but.. then arrogance is the least troubling of the pathological behaviors in amber, but the most consistent.
why recruit someone with centuries of experience in running a kingdom roughly the size of amber, if they don't want an advisor?
they don't want to share information.
they don't want me interested
when things are broke, or not working to their maximum potential, I fix them. It is what I do. It doesn't matter if they are people or things. If i am not allowed to fix them, I have other valuable things to do with my time.
time to leave, time to stop trying to make this work...AGAIN.Time to stop leaving slots open on my dance card for this torturous infernal sodomy conga line that never goes anywhere, just runs around in a circle as everyone tries to best the person in front of them in line.

there is also this troubling other matter

the line has been crossed
the wrong battlefield redefined
and the old wounds are new

I have not even considered Heinrich, Sabine, or Ky-tung as cannon fodder in this masked war inside a war where only the enemy is worthy of ethical considerations. targeting affairs of the heart at all is unacceptable. Most families know to stop the mind games when the universe is about to collapse. I wish there was a way to draw up a coherent suspect list, but I know they changed the way moire feels.

whora is on the throne.
Torriana doesn't have to like me, but I fail to see how acting like an adult would be lethal to her.
I trumped her father, again attempting to communicate, and as usual
he sickened me. his smell sickens me.
nauseous shambling apelike imbecile.
unblinking unknowing and inert yet inherently wicked like a block of stone chipped from the Bindings that hold the great malefactor himself in the ninth ring of hell chipped from the black after absorbing his foul essence over millennia. The foulness of the devil king festering at it core like a cancer and leaking it's foul stench at the cracks causing near by plant life to rot. imagination-less and self satisfied surrounded by the feral strays he gathered. all hail the pinhead hero!! the purest concentration of evil and stupid existing outside of a centrifuge in chaos.
long ago we ran from chaos, now we cut deals with slimies, and make half hearted attempts to get back. looking like a weak pathetic sandpiper running against the waves

Posted by Doyce at 12:06 AM Comments (3)
May 21, 2003
..and one more thing (some highlights from benedict's debriefing)

I would like to request request some manner of royal accommodation for the hospital, to insure it's prompt completion under currency restrictions. I have several suggestions for ways that I feel would be more effective to handle problems in the amber economy. I am in the process of contacting professionals, and am preparing a report in this matter

A thought I have is that galena might want to examine the corwin-verse to see if it has mirror-verse, and we should considered sending someone to inform them right away, and consider extending some manner of shroudling ambassador there as well. My guess is that it is unlikely that there would be a mirror-verse gateway to new avalon, but we would be better off if we ruled it out conclusively. another consideration would be third party use of the mirror-verse. to recruit tanitheel's people, and provide them an allied path to vindication against amber. once I have completed my next 3 objectives, I could undertake that mission with tanitheel, it would also give us a chance to enact the recruiting plan we spoke of earlier

one other way I could be of service is using an account of my time in chaos as a public morale booster, and a chance to begin some misdirection about our knowledge of chaos.

one thing that troubled me about the lack of attention to the rescue of your brother was the possibility of him being the second chaosite breeding experiment. I knew he would use the ability to create his own existence to pleasure himself, as we all would to some degree, but I did not consider it would be so completely geared towards validating his personal lusts for power, and lust in general. I have little doubt that a chaosite who fit his paradime could have made herself available for his pleasure. with an infinitude of women at his disposal, a periodic pregnancy might have served to only enhance his sense of virility. A prospective mother, either planted or imported could have been shuttled out, possibly through the mirror network. he has shown a penchant for indiscriminate procreation in the past. this would also explain why he was left to his own devices to spite being a potential danger. I will endeavor to retain his concubines in the second part of this endeavor. I believe it is critical that we obtain some manner of census from the man himself as promptly as possible after his return

remind me to speak of you regarding lirazel the next time we meet.

Posted by Doyce at 04:44 AM Comments (2)
May 18, 2003
los Journal de Diego 31.1

Family- It's like square dancing with monsters at gun point, in this case somewhat literally. maybe the phrase "ball of the cannibal ghouls" works better. I wish life could be more about real family and less about the suspects your related to.

family
the ideal is to be perceived as helpful/benevolent with just the right amount of inconvenience and irritation to allow yourself enough freedom. In the case of myself and most of the family that comes from my good fortune of bearing what they might call "ethical baggage", and what I would call human decency. In the case of benedict I am attempting to be excessively helpful, cheerful, and candid. I think it is the cheerfulness that bothers him. I think anything unpragmatic grates on Benedict's nerves. I would think they would get over this sort of bogus fashionable decorum after a few millennia. somewhere out there in shadow is the non-sequtir the could shatter Benedict's mind. I would like to consider myself a fairly organized, dignified, and professional persona, but the level of faux superiority complex detachment I constantly encounter strikes me as frighteningly dispassionate and joyless. I don't care if bleys is a libidinal lunatic, I still pray he can raise the level of animated conversation around here. I am in "The Great Gatsby" as written by Lucifer (all the malaise, ennui and triple the intrigue)
I must say that I didn't regret my journey into Bley's fantasy world, but seeing it did offer insight into my own predicament. I have never been this lustful. I thought it was a delayed imprint of estrus from the time I have spent as a primate, and antelope. I thought it was about suppressed things reawakening. I now know what it is really about. It is nearly the only acceptable escape I have from the sense of powerlessness I have been experiencing.
speaking of powerlessness...
the most painful thing yet was seeing Moire again. I saw something different in her, something foreign. I think she has been fed lies by family. I expected something more formal, but our conversation was uncharacteristically devoid of all but the most obligatory pleasantries. I did my best to hold back intense feelings that ache every muscle in my soul, but maybe around someone with moire's talents that is like expecting to cork a volcano by simply sitting on it. All the boons amber could offer will never atone for this.
It is my turn to go drinking with Morwyn

Posted by Doyce at 06:01 AM Comments (3)
May 16, 2003
Twenty Questions with Prince Diego

Twenty Questions with Prince Diego
Questions set by Kedric Kandive, Written by Valeri Valerinov Kasynovich, Renderings by Spud Noir.
As Approved by Prince Benedict.

**Note: Items in italics are Diego true feelings on the question, and not published. Just added for the flavor of it.

1. DT: For our Dear readers, Prince Diego, Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am 300 years old. I have been married once. my wife was murdered while abroad on a goodwill mission with our two sons. I specialize in engineering, as well as medicine, and I often combine the two in shape-shifting. I have worked as a combat medic, doctor, teacher, engineer, sailor, administrator, general, and soldier. I am staunchly opposed to slavery. I enjoy card games, playing my bariguiha, intelligent conversation in proper matters, experimentation, and research.

2. DT: Price Diego, about your Shadow Vulnavia.

Vulnavia is a tropical island that has among the highest standards of living in it's native shadow. It is a global center for research. It is a growing cultural capital as well. The people tend to be both directly honest and industrious while hailing from diverse backgrounds.

3. DT: Prince Diego, why were you not brought into the Family sooner?

I was kept secret. On a related note I think there does need to be a unified coherent policy towards the induction of new family members, particularly with several of us in committed relationships that might bear fruit once the war is over.

4. DT: Prince Diego, it is rumored that your Father is Prince Corwin, Do you wish to start a Relationship with him at this late date.

There is no need.
I am completely happy with the great man that provided my parenting in lieu of Corwin's adultery. A man who denies his own children is a fool and a coward who also does harm beyond words to himself.

5. DT: Prince Diego, when did you find out you were of the Royal blood?

when my aunt suddenly stopped intimating incest after 8+ hours
I had always know I was different, but I assumed it was the result of spells, being Castilian, and lucky genetics.

6. DT: Prince Diego, tell us about your feelings about the pace and extent of the war.

I obviously wish there were more dead chaosites, but in most cases I do not see how that is possible. outside of gerard actually listening, and doing something

7. DT: Prince Diego, which of the enemies of Amber are of most concern to you?

While I have not had a great deal of time to devote to the historical study of Amber, but it strikes me that Historically Amber's greatest troubles seem to have been internal. Since most of the previous tension seems to have been removed, I believe the obvious answer is those that remain hidden, and those that could hide amongst us.


8. DT: Prince Diego, You have been seen with several beautiful women on your arm…Do you have any plans to settle down in the Future?

laughs I don't know of too many women who could tolerate the demands on my schedule. I am interested and even looking when I have the chance.

9. DT: Prince Diego, after suffering several months of personal attacks in the Press, how do you respond to your detractors?

I find it extremely frustrating to have sacrificed more lives of troops and friends then I have given in defense of my homeland in 180 years to the cause, and receive little but bile in their memory. However upon reflection I feel the injustice done to Vulnavia is trivial in comparison to the damage done to Amber because only a limited spectrum of the people who have made brave sacrifices for the war are receiving a majority of the attention. In some cases editors have focused on meritless personal attacks against the royal family while their own children are on the front. Most of the work the family is doing cannot be reported upon pro-actively, because then the chaosite scum won't stick their heads out of the holes for expedient decapitation. There needs to be a greater focus on the bravery displayed, and sacrifices made through out our brave armed services, and not just crassly focusing on celebrity. Last month when I was healing a wounded soldier, and he said as much. I will now start providing such information to the press as it reaches my offices

10. DT: Prince Diego, How has the sudden revelations of you and Vulnavia's participation in the war helped your standing in the publics eye?

I get the sense that some wrongs in that regard have been corrected. I am close to approaching the level of sustainable economic interplay I would like to see between Vulnavia and amber.

11. DT: Prince Diego, It was reported in one of the Amber Rags that you and Princess Toriana had a bit of a falling out; is this true, and if so has Princess Toriana resolved it to your satisfaction?

We had a disagreement, I do not think it will prevent us from collaboration during extreme circumstances.

12. DT: Prince Diego, Do you feel that there should be punishment for those that overstep what is considered public decency in the Press?

I think premeditated lies and malicious slander against the royal family should be treated in the same manner as the revealing state secrets, because ultimately they serve the same purpose. IF the local press can focus on the local hero's of the war, and less on celebrity to boost circulation, most of my grievances would be silenced.

13. DT: Prince Diego, Tell us a little bit about your close Friends in Vulnavia?

I am regretting the degree to which I have brought my loyal friends into the spotlight, even though most of their duties are public knowledge. I am working to expand my network of intimate associates.

14. DT: Prince Diego, tell us about your new Properties in Lynxia and Dom-Daniel.

Dom-daniel is devoted to manufacturing, training, and housing activities geared towards conjuration. It will be the single largest school in the area, and capable of formidable feats in the near future.

15. DT: Prince Diego, Are you interested in pursuing ties to Tir Tarngir and Rebma as well as Amber.

Of course, and I think we all should. Rebma has been personally supportive when Amber wasn't, and has a share in most if not all of our victories. Every citizen of amber owes a debt to Rebma, and Queen Moire's gracious generosity. As for the Tir, we need to support them as well, because if we don't they might find themselves receiving aid from more unsavory sources. My initial impressions of Marcus are favorable.

16. DT: Prince Diego, Give us your opinion on the return of the First Generation Princes/Princess'.

Your Thoughts on:

Regent Gerard?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
the worst possible combination of wicked and stupid

Prince Benedict?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
decent man so far, most of his flaws seem to come from having spoken to Gerard

Princess Flora?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
selfish whore and oath breaker

Princess Llewella?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
I care for her a great deal, she can seem oddly cold at distant at times, especially to someone who knows what her colon looks like inside, and has seen her molars from in back

Mirelle?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
never met her, sounds like she is attractive…grrrrroow!

17. DT: Prince Diego Can you give us your candid thoughts and assessments on your Generation.

Prince 13?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
he seems bright, but his best attributes are covered by a considerable yellow streak, hopefully his mother can talk some sense into him.

Princess Dara?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
I really tried to be nice to her, but her dubious heritage came through in the end

Prince Fineas?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.


Princess Dierdre?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.


Prince Douglas?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.


Princess Galena?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
so far so good

Prince Jacob?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
my instincts have never been so wrong-criminally insane


Prince Martin?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.

HRH Morwyn?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
I love my sister

Prince Rinaldo?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.

Princess Toriana?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.
The most self absorbed and self righteous person in the history of space and time

Princess Vialle?

As a matter of policy I will not comment on family members in non-specific instances.

18. DT: Prince Diego, how has the founding of a Burning Crab School helped your standing in Dom-Daniel, Lynxia, Rebma and Amber ?

I think it has, but establishing the school is about winning the war, and then winning the peace, not accolades. I do think Dom-Daniel is under utilized. Am proud of the fact that it is a way Amber and Rebma can work together.

19. DT: Prince Diego, as the Teacher of new healing techniques in Amber, Rebma and Lynxia, do feel more can be done to provide health care to those in need?

I would like to see a more organized and extensive way to ensure benefits for troops of all stripes that fight for Amber, not just reactively, but also as a recruitment incentive. I would also like to see medical care for those who cannot afford more expensive treatment. in vulnavia it is guaranteed to all.

20. DT: Prince Diego: who feel should become Monarch of Amber?

I will concede with whatever is decided, but I honestly don't feel there should be another "monarch". I view Too many of the troubles Amber has experienced in the past as the result of an excessive consolidation of power, Oberon has gone. now a delegated distribution of power along the talents of family members seems to be the best way to insure victory and the continuing safety of Amber by facilitating cooperation.

Posted by Stan at 10:25 AM Comments (13)
May 04, 2003
Dr. Delacroix's monday reading excerpt (30.3)

I kept them in a comfortable medical isolation cell for 2 days
I had their husband/father prepare demanding questionnaires
I ran redundant psychological profiles, chemical tests, medical tests, and all kinds of magic

now I am confident that they are actually Valeri's family temporarily unmolested.
Fineas has taken out his vindictive streak on family before. I hope I can help them, but there is not much I can do for the patriarch who is hellbent on self annihilation, and I told him as much. I believe I had them spirited out in enough secrecy, that we should be able to stand at least a cursory investigation. I cannot abide hereditary vindication. I would have been a trivial matter to act out against Embeth's children.

I am saddened that the man seems a little bit looney,but courageous, tenacious, genuinely loyal, and some of his highly unlikely theories may even be correct (that's a unlikely maybe). At least they eerily line up with my experience of the people. When I think what I would give to have my family back, his courage quickly becomes madness. I told him as much. At least I am doing my part to keep him busy, out of the wrong people's hair, and keeping him from painting targets all over himself. I am not going to be able to keep the gadfly away from the horse forever, if at all. I should have thrown my weight around more, for his own good, in retrospect.

It is interesting how The pro Vulnavia faction has become the anti Fineas faction. Kashfa must be rife with class struggle. I haven't heard anything back from our trade ambassador yet. I will look forward to his report. the return of his mother has brought him as many headaches as boons in the short term.

With Benedict on board I feel I might somehow survive the family longer, and I am not prepared to keep such company alone. You would think the choice would be easy because I can alter the appearance of any one I desire. I even have body cast models of exemplary specimens. However I learned the hard way you can't die cast your dreams. Her name was Helga. She was a gymnast with sever third degree burns over most of her body.
I remember after the death of my wife swearing to break with tradition, and never take just one wife again. Some of my favorite Mapung have suggested that Kylikki would not make a good first wife, but a good second. I did keep an eye open we I was last in Mapungubwe for possible spousal candidates, but didn't have time to actively pursue a search. I think it would be a popular local choice to take a mapung wife, and there might even be some plans the africans have for me in that regard.

I often enjoy moments of clarity with a scalpel in my hand, I imagine it is something like what a conductor might feel when he conducts Bozart or Bonzetti. Today I am considering that my beautiful new universe is unlikely to remain uncontaminated. I have set up hammocks just inside mirrors in Vulnavia, and Dom-Daniel. I enjoy resting there and watching the harmonious yet unpredictable movement of the terrain in the strange lunar light. I think I will focus on small local networks to start.

I am most excited about My new research. taking what I have learned from the Drakke, and others. I have been able to make some interesting sub-species strains of the Giant Baskerville furry backed toad.

Benedict could have accomplished more with less if he actually organized and centralized banking under the royal banner. It would also help control nobles. I think there are definitely elements of an economic war, most likely by chaosites, in this inflation. we could also use a more coherent and unified method of commodities exchange. I believe this is something we should do to prevent crisis in the near term, and strengthen the royal hand in the long term.

Posted by at 05:44 PM Comments (2)
April 29, 2003
coiling around some problems (journal 30.2)

the fiscal fiasco
I wonder who put benedict up to this coinage mistake, this is worse then his foolishly making disparaging remarks about zeppelins.
it is unlikely torrianna would enter the distasteful real world look enough to realize the problem. It is unlikely Jacob possesses the rudimentary mathematical ability. it is doubtful reese would stay in Amber long enough.
They limit my ability to research, and they limited my ability to build. it would give one pause to wonder why the brought me on board at all.

I typically like to enjoy an hour or so with Kylikki after a day in the lab. It starts in with cocktails, and continues in a conventional enough manner, Then closes with a using favorite shape of mine as we prepare for one final round before going to sleep. The form is a serpentine variation on my analytical form (i'll spare you the garden of eden analogy). I coil around the majority of her body, leaving a loop behind her neck to serve as a pillow before I curl around to rest what passes for my head in her ample bosom. On the other end I leave the tail end inside her body where it establishes a link with her autonomic nervous system that relaxes her, insures a good nights sleep, and synchronizes our metabolisms. to the outsider it might look uncomfortable, but it is far from it. the more we lay together this way the more intimate it becomes, I can work on all her back muscles, and contour myself to her frame. It is clear that she has developed a sweet tooth for shape-shifting.
I bring this up because I had a life like statue of Moire moved to my office for repairs after a finger was broken. I checked the wards in the section I was in, because I couldn't resist a little coil.

It is always good to see my sister. she seems to like her house so far, I hope she gets some use out of it, or at least doesn't act so embarrassingly in public like she did with the brat. I hope she knows a true gentleman would never court a lady of such easy virtue. she means the world to me, and I would like to be an uncle to a child that is not going to grow up to be typical amber stock some day. I worry that Rebma doesn't have the resources to deal with major trouble on multiple fronts. Lewella might start a family if things are quiet for a few years, and the spirit moves her. I really wish my solution could be implemented in the near future

Posted by at 05:23 PM Comments (2)
Amber's disastrous fiscal policy (journal 30.1)

I was optimistic that I wouldn't experience my first benedict related disappointment so soon.
I can't believe he just didn't come to me, and tell me to hold off on spending money in certain areas, and instead passes a law that states all imported wealth must be converted into a limited amount of amber currency before exchanges take place. This could very well result in a deflationary spiral that is larger then they considered.

I currently have a fairly high expense profile in amber, with local charities, the hospital, trade expenses, the school, and the ever growing estate. I am going to have to place employees at the hospital on a contract or transitory basis to keep them paid in vulnavian currency. I have no choice but to dramatically cut back the great deal of speculative ventures I had planned with Amber's noble houses, reduce charitable giving, move transactions to just outside the golden circle, and cut overall advertising to less then 17 percent of it's current allotment. I had also planned to have more dealings with the shadow atlas people, now I will have to go through the Dom-Daniel offices.
This means a huge amount of book keeping headaches as I move expenses around. I had deliberately kept a fair amount of my banking in amber as a gesture of goodwill, and to insure transparent accounting practices, and now I am going to have to move wealth to Rebma, Bamerica, and Baskerville. It is a good thing I bought some advertising space In Die Tag, Herald, and Times as far as a year out as part of block purchasing, and to prove the sincerity of my cooperative offers .
I am going to start My massive guild Bank in Dom daniel earlier then I had planned to make up for another short-sighted amber policy. This also means I can afford to issue fewer contracts to Amber businesses. I am going to have to issue the next round of Burning Crab contracts exclusively to Rebman houses as well as slowing hospital construction. This Joke policy reminds me of something the Bamericans tried once.
The sad thing is I can already see the headlines detailing my attempts to buy influence when the fact is I could have spent the same amount of money in shadow, and gotten much more, but I chose to try to help the people of amber. I chose to act like a civically accountable noble.
This is what happens when you place people with a military bent in charge of civilian affairs.

It hardly seems fair, after months of pumping massive cash injections into amber, I only get to enjoy a week of ass-kissing instead of months of earned respect until the political tide turns back against me. I could have and should have used all that money to buy a shadow less jaded. I think it will now take more time for relations to stablize between our territories. I am being forced to join the rest of the princes in having a lesser material commitment to the well being of amber- not a strategy for success.

Posted by at 11:23 AM Comments (7)
April 20, 2003
correspondences and domestic bliss

Dear Benedict,
I have no idea what you did to Amber's tragically under-regulated press corps, but I pray it didn't involve undue bloodshed on my behalf, not that I would be object to some carnage in the offices of the Royal Way. Thank you.
I left our last discussion with some reservations, but mostly enthusiasm for some new ideas i feel can now be implemented prior to your brother's return. I will look forward to talking to you soon, but my schedule has been delayed due to an internal security breach.

Dear Ms. Amor
( This is an draft copy that more clearly reflects the author, the version sent was vastly more innocuous )
I bear no desire to increase the circulation of the detestable Royal way, any more then I would like to expand the reach of the chaos propaganda ministry, If indeed the two are divorcable at all. However I am reasonable, and I will return the favor of answering my queries with a modest offering.
Q: what is my opinion of... Galina
A: I recently had the pleasure of providing Galina with a tour of my home, and providing her with an assortment of gifts and offers to ease her transition into her new life. I look forward to working with her on humanitarian projects in the future.
Q: what is your opinion of Mirelle?
A: I have yet to meet Mirelle, but I can only express the profoundest sympathy for what she had to endure. loosing a child is the worst sensation there is.

Dear Jasra
Congratulations on your rapid return to power. You have my support. I am eager to reach a conclusion in the matter in which I contacted your predecessor . (Amor details follow). I would like to make the same offer to you.

I hardly have time to attend to domestic situations, but an intriguing one occurred just recently. I placed my back-up male sweinhund among Kylikki's escort. a couple days later her guards were awakened by screaming. Kylikki was standing in her nightgown shrieking, and pointing to the point on the floor where the sweinhund was infragante with her chocolate lab. Normally I am one to find beauty all across nature, but even I am forced to admit this union is going to provide us with some wickedly ugly puppies. I didn't predict this, especially given the fact that sweinhunds cannot even interbreed with the source species I created them from. Several conventional measures have been attempted to separate the happy couple, and failed. Nor am I willing to commit supernatural resources to such a trivial project.
I tried having the sweinhund placed back on patrol near the nature preserve, but he would just go up the edge of the first fence, and make the loudest, sickest, and saddest howl you could never imagine. The guards I place in that area must have an extreme tolerance for the unusual, but even they started complaining.
After some effort the two animals have wound up becoming a strange family inside a stranger family. I am getting to see Kylikki's maternal instincts come to the fore in caring for her pet., however as it's pregnancy progresses it is my aid it will require.

Lumpy- the dictatorship of ignorance. The more I think about it, the more I feel free of it, the more I feel I need to support Benedict. I still have to wonder about the ethics of a person who would take all the resources we have be given, and find satisfaction in the life of a soldier.
I find out the gutter press has been informed that I have "no role" in the war, and then I think back to being compared to bleys, I just want to explode. did bleys give gerard the lives of 8 of his friends? If i had the power gerard would be a ward of the state, and not allowed to even have pets.
I did notice fineas got his first less then favorable press, now if every headline could declare him a necromantic child molester for the next several months, his coverage as a whole might be close to classifiable as balanced.

Posted by at 09:32 PM Comments (5)
April 17, 2003
The Burning Crab School in Dom-Daniel

(much of the text is taken from an old brochure that was designed for tourists)
The Burning Crab School is designed to provide best in class services in education, manufacturing, warehousing, testing, and community providing everything that could be desired in a custom made conjuration paradise.

why bother with dangerous, ego-centric, expensive, and high maintenance sorcerers when you can have several comparatively sane individuals performing most of the simple supernatural tasks that would use a sorcerer for a fraction of the cost!?
Our academic course structure is designed to be modular, providing a rapid acquisition of a limited yet practical skill set, and get our students deployed as rapidly as possible providing highly useful services to their communities. This structure also serves to enable us to offer focused component training that is easily integrated with training from other area schools in several key areas. we specialize in medicine, warding, enchantments, communications, and manufacturing. several components can be put together with our advanced theory classes to produce all purpose conjurers as well.
Students may stay in our lavish residential facilities, as well as overnight rooms, or simply join us via secure trump gate from our extension campuses in Lynxia, Amber, and The elegant Casa Diego Hotel after enjoying it's nightly floor show.
One advantage of our unique structure is the integration of manufacturing facilities. Our students become part of the creation of the items they will be enchanting, learning both processes and materials.
Our manufacturing operations are going to be the largest In Dom-daniel. No expense has been spared in bringing the best in metal working, wood working, glass working, pottery, and other materials to the mountain. students have constant access to the majority of our work facilities. the mountain is well on it's way to containing three separate customizable mass manufacturing factories. To our knowledge the largest blast furnace to exist is right now under construction.
In order to store the vast amount of items being manufactured, we offer warehousing, and lab space for our members at well below standard rates with generous membership and alumni discounts. we also sell wares at a dedicated level of merchants and the lovely gift shop in the prestigious casa diego hotel, in addition to it's popular old tyme market days.
Our facilities are unique in their ability to test conjured items at any of our extension campuses via trump gate. Our students and members may also enjoy our elaborate recreational facilities In Amber and Lynxia.
In addition to the manufacturing, and academic life, we also offer one of the most attractive guild memberships In Dom-Daniel. Our members can enjoy substantial discounts on all the mountain's services as well as a members only bank, free seminars, and access to the fastest growing library in the region.

The school is starting to resemble gnosis mixed with willy wonka and rebman styles. It overall structure can be described as several fat wheels around a central vertical shaft that forms a water elemental powered elevator inside a hollow mountain.

Posted by at 08:10 AM Comments (21)
April 13, 2003
Food, Shape-shifting, and my Intimate Life

I was felling better then I have felt in a long time
then it hit me.
This vacation might result in another ill-mannered lumpy progeny.
Even from holiday he continues to assault me with the looming specter of his impending neglect.
Then I envisioned how Torriana would respond, and I felt better

I took a moment to sit down by the pool, and write a note to Benedict. Kylikki was swimming. It is easy to see why she elicited spontaneous marriage proposals from the royal guard. Even Clark took notice of her, and I thought that he had surgically removed all his potentially distracting organs long ago.
The related situation grows really infuriating.
I am looking down a near endless automat line of possible erotic bliss, but the entree I crave is under lock and key. Sometimes I want to eat a triple helping of everything else just to spite cruel fate. Most of the time all my other options, no matter how otherwise appealing, look like stale melba toast compared to divine nectar.
At times I get a little bored of Kylikki. There is a kind of youthfulness about her. naive would be to strong a word to use, given her life experience, but there is something savory in someone who has made decisions they regret. She has had almost all her decisions made for her. I have a hard time verbalizing my reservations about the whole affair. Maybe I am just asking for something as absurd as asking for Aristotle to come up during pillow talk. I only know of one better pick from the automat line. I am very found of 'likki in a number of ways, maybe I should treat myself to a second course or dessert while I wait.

Eating
I am forever having dinner with people, and I do it because to be of amber seems to mean having little or no moral fiber, and a big appetite. Truth be told, so much of eating is meaningless to me. It is a really inefficient use of my time. I wonder how amber ever got the little they accomplished done with the constant stuffing of their gullets. I just place just one of my time release calabashes with my special protein batter in a freshly grown orifice, and I am full for up to a 4 days.
I don't really enjoy food, or have any of the huge host of problems eating holds for others. If the food tastes bad, I change my taste buds. if the food isn't filling, I shrink my stomach. the food doesn't digest well, I change my digestive tract or just eject the food entirely. there isn't a vast amount of compounds I couldn't "eat".
As for the whole complexity of table manners, how do they apply to straining food from the water, projecting dissolving chemicals on to your meal, absorbing food directly into the digestive track, catching supper with your tongue, or ingesting it like a jellyfish? about every six months I get a real strong urge to skim fresh Atlantic krill.
another strike against the traditional meal is my medical altruism. it is much easier to filter out rum and protein batter then it is an wide smattering of local dishes when my blood is distilled into concentrated healing agents. sometimes I feel like a human beer keg with people lined up around the block.

you are probably getting the idea that shape-shifting leads to some interesting bar bets during long ocean voyages. You would be right. The one that immediately comes to mind is something I have come to consider a very good barometer of shape-shifter competence... shape-shifter musical flatulence. Once I got half way through a robust aria from Berdi's "Ba Braviata" before we had to clear the deck.

Posted by at 11:02 PM Comments (5)
April 07, 2003
Assorted filings of Dr. Delacroix session 29

contents
1- letter to marcus
2- general journal excerpts
3- brape ecology
4- doc's sidekicks

(letter sent via trump along with Vulnavian ambassador, and the first three trade representatives)
dear marcus
I hope wedded bliss is treating you well.
I have extended an ambassador to you, and provided 3 general trade advisors I believe you will find extremely useful.
I would also like to make one of the first purchases from your new trading empire. I would like 3 billion dollars in cultural artifacts, and the following list of technologies, all from Barsum. Sorak has agreed to look for new territory for her people, provided the return of as much cultural heritage, and population as possible goes acceptably. I have no further interest in the territory either, beyond these objectives.
Dawadire has agreed to stay in my service in exchange for travel, and training.
Kylikki is eager to be given wealth and status in her home village, but overall will be remaining in my service as well.

I have recently purchased a shadow atlas, an item I believe you would find very useful, I welcome your staff to enjoy the use of ours, or I would be happy to make the appropriate introductions. This brings to mind a very lucrative possibility for you. If you still have any information on shadow data from chaosite sources, it could be highly valuable to the makers of the atlas as well as myself, amber and rebma. I would also be interesting in purchasing unique volumes for my library in dom daniel.

I have also enclosed several samples of different types of treaties that you might find useful. I think we all have an interest in clearly establishing territorial usage parameters in relation to the mirror power. I have enclosed a draft treaty in that regard for your consideration. I have also enclosed several draft treaties I would like you to consider in relation to my homeland ranging from mutual defense, non aggression and trade agreements.

I have other matters to discuss, and I will look forward to talking to you soon
(D-)

Posted by at 03:25 AM Comments (1)
March 29, 2003
bonus journal session 28.5

I thought I would try a novel approach in attempting to decipher the mixed messages fineas has been sending out. I thought I would send a missive to his mother. In personality, I am going to make the assumption that she is somewhat like a heavily maternal version of my grandfather. It is the only model I have that seems to make sense and would result in the personalities of her offspring. I would have preffered to have any queries answered directly, but I have learned that even being partially direct is only likely to result in failure in amber.

so with out the advice of my grandfather, I am attempting to read between the lines. I have little doubt that she consulted with one or both of her offspring in forming a reply, because it appears that under their consultation she agreed to become known to amber at large to begin with.
I am not thinking that her reply gives me the reassurances I needed. Even taking it more literally, It still reinforces my frustration with peoples constant under-estimation of my worth. I often feel more like a used car salesman then some one bred to be a prince with a copious litany of accomplishments. I miss lively conversation, I had naively hoped for a lively correspondence. I might not be making unfair assumptions on limited data, but circumstances dictate these unfortunate guessing games. If bleys were to take the throne, at least I could indulge in some repartee. In either case now it is like talking to one of two granite slabs, but they are granite for very different reasons. Without Moire I find myself lacking in high caliber conversation in this fearsome new existence. I miss it.

Castillian (heavily paraphrased from the 7 Seas rule book)
while it is easy to describe Castillians as "cold" or "distant", it is easy to see why they distrust foreigners of any sort. Castille has been invaded many times in her history and her occupations have been long and bloody.
Castillians value education, and even the tiniest hamlet has demanding schools, and a library as fully stocked as they can muster. generally speaking they are among the best educated people in Europe.
but they are also a passionate people. they love music and la familia. the family is centered around the mother. the Castillian veneration for the maternal figure is great.
they are passionate, but the influence of religion had engendered "a passion for precision" a sound perfectly encapsulated perfectly by the Castillian guitar.

Posted by at 01:30 AM Comments (2)
March 25, 2003
excerpts from the medical journal of Dr.Delacroix session 28

press release (sent to all media outlets except the chaosian way)
It appears that there is some confusion as to the role of the hospital to be built on the grounds of my estate. It is a non-profit facility that will work in conjunction with my educational organizations towards research as well as servicing the continuing medical needs of veterans, and the less fortunate.
The native population has in no way been excluded, in fact they already comprise a majority of the construction and support staff. Any medical talent that wishes to apply may do so. please direct any further suggestions and questions to my office. (D-)

now back to my notes...
I had requested that the regent have Galina contact me at her earliest convience in excess of 10 days ago. I could read further justification for my paranoia into having to chase her down myself, but then expecting gerard to exhibit a simple courtesy grows more and more like expecting a common housefly to aid me in my trigonometry.
still he does leave too many questions answered for my taste, chiefly among them
1- can I trust you?
2- Why are we better then the chaosites, if we act this way?

on another note...
I simply fail to understand why anyone would consider me a megalomaniac. there is nothing in my history that bears witness to it, and even of there were, there is still a complete lack of motivation and attempting control. Why would I have the slightest desire to take over high maintenance, well defended territory in a low magic area with a tragically dated form of government? It must be that I have acquired an air of authority over the years, or more likely there subconscious longing for order on the part of my detractors. maybe there is yet another cabal in need of squashing.

I will have to talk to gerhard to get the jewel again. I will say as little as possible because talking to inert masses is a clear sign of madness, and I'm not there...yet.

I believe lunch with galina went well. I will ask to take charge of some of her pattern training.

As to the coronation matter...
I had planned to send just an ambassador, but I felt the former concubines needed more reassurance, and I was unsure If I could get a plant If I stayed home. I was able to return the native courtiers. The only job we have for courtiers in Vulnavia is called customer service. I am glad to have the rest remain aboard.

A few noteworthy events happened, perhaps the most so is the continuing infantile conduct of Torriana. I have tried to be patient and generous with her, but I really have no idea what she hopes to gain from such conduct other then removing support from her over indulgent father. she can put on a facade of gracefulness from time to time, but that fact that she is a foul mouthed little gremlin at the core is clear. I have no doubt that she has made my objectives in Rebma more difficult.

fineas was surprisingly polite, and supportive. Most resistance assassins I have worked with were alarmingly courteous as well. Jacob must have been between bouts of his severe mental illness, as he actually made sense. I would have enjoyed the company had I not seen so clearly the degree that they can ignore the golden rule.

I will learn the mirror trick. It will be very helpful in several of the shadows I am engaged in. I have some interesting plans for what I can do with it.

I am not entirely happy about events, but The wedding appeared to have the blessing of the unicorn, confirming my opinion that the primordial forces of the universe are somewhat misguided. I can turn the tides of oceans, but fate and the thick skulled spawn of oberon are another story. let's all pray for a tablu rasa in the Tir.

seeing a prelude to nuptial bliss reminded me of my predicament . there was an attractive woman at the wedding who peeked my interest. I will seek her out the next time I must visit.

I return with my research to discover benedict has temporarily taken the throne.
amen.
I have a reprieve from the gorilla who clipped the wings of science-!! ding dong the witch is dead-!! mazel-tov, I am dancing the I can breath again jig-!! I have blissful, if naive, images of gerard choking on a chicken wing in a bold print hawaiian shirt on an anonymus tropical beach somewhere.

Progress in Dom daniel is going well. I was able to release 100s of taster sea slugs to detect chaosites into the mountain, and I feel a little bit better about security there. The place will require some personal attention in the near future, but it is still running somewhere between numbers 3-10 on my ever growing list of things to do.

Posted by at 01:13 AM Comments (7)
March 23, 2003
the letter to Jasra

Dear Jasra,
It is good to know of your existence.
As a reward for exposing yourself to the family, and assuming the risks that your generosity could have potentially entailed, please allow me to reciprocate your offer of hospitality. enclosed is an invitation to attend the open house at our facilities in Dom-Daniel, or you may arrange for a personal tour. I have enclosed some information about our facilities and objectives there. I am also pleased to extend an offer of Vulnavian hospitality you may avail yourself of at any time, as your doubtlessly busy schedule permits. also let me express my curiosity in your facilities. I know little about them , as I have refrained from sending any operatives in, as a courtesy I customarily extend to family members. only disaster would result If individuals were to disrespect the homelands of their own kindred.

Additionally in the spirit of this respect, let me assure you that you may call on my considerable aid in the security, and defense of your home.

warmest regards
D- (royal seal of vulnavia)

Posted by at 11:19 PM Comments (1)
March 16, 2003
The Ecology of Clark

At an early age, Clark Babbage, Jr. was placed in the custody of a group of scientists by his father who had great plans for his son. Clark studied under great masters of all disciplines of science: medicine, chemistry, electricity, engineering, archaeology, and others. He also developed his body as well as his mind by studying the martial arts and other hand to hand combat skills. He became fluent in numerous languages, an expert at ventriloquism, and a marksman with all types of weapons.

When WWI broke out, Doc joined the Army, where he became a combat ace flying biplanes in missions against the Germans. He was shot down, captured, and sent to a POW camp where he met Bunk, Spam, Renny, Johnny, and Long Tom. Doc and his crew organized a prison escape, and made a pact that they would form a group to fight evil and crime when the war was over.

Doc saved a lost race of Mayan descendents from exploitation and slavery, and in return was given access to the tremendous hordes of gold owned by the tribe. Doc used this fabulous wealth in his fight against evil.

Despite Doc's choice of professions, he seldom took the life of a criminal if he could help it. Usually the gang of criminals would meet their doom as a result of their own greed and evil plot. The fate of the criminals Doc captured was quite different. They were taken to a secret hospital in up-state New York and given a delicate brain surgery by Doc that erased their memories. A staff of attendants would then re-train the criminal to be a contributing member of society.

Doc was a huge man. Six foot eight inches tall, he weighed 270 pounds, golden eyes, skin with a slight metallic bronze tone, a physique he maintains by performing a 2 hour routine of exercises each day. These exercises consisted of pitting one muscle against another. At the same time, he is exercising his mind by performing complex mathematical calculations in his head. He also develops his other senses with the use of apparatus of his own design.

The Babbage Code
Let me strive every moment of my life, to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.

Diego has been a colleague of Clark's for 15 years developing multiple medical patents together

taken heavily from..
http://users.aol.com/jsines233/private/Doc.htm

Posted by at 10:40 PM Comments (3)
March 10, 2003
A letter to Marcus

Congratulations on your recent victory against the Gryphon abomination.
I hope we can work together within a set of common objectives.
I have been operating in the gryphon held lands that once belonged to the people of Dante's concubine known as Sorak. I have pledged to restore order there, please do not interfere, or optionally your aid would be welcome. Additionally please do not consider any non-economic action in the lands that belonged to any of his former concubines outside of the Tir, where I have similar agreements. I am however open to discussions as to the ultimate governance of these territories with the provisos that some semblance of pre-invasion life be restored, and some elements of self rule be introduced.
I would also ask that the concubines native to your new territory be allowed to return, and allowed to live free and prosperous lives.

As the prince of Amber with the largest independent economic interests, I find myself in a position to aid you in your stated objectives of economic independence.
I currently am experiencing a considerable agricultural surplus that I could easily arrange to provide you with during your transitional period. I also have up to a dozen operatives that could serve you well in an economic advisory compacity, and several dozen excellent tomes on macro-economics, and business operations you should find seminal, including one I authored myself on zeppelins their use in combined supply chain management . Please consider the enclosed current discounted price list for the products we export avialable as needed in future endeavors.

I would request the shape-shifting potion used by alexia, and any information you have in relation to house chandicut. I believe joining the agreement to destroy house chandicut you would greatly further the peace you desire with both Amber and Rebma.

you might also want to request copies of the trumps we had made between our first and second gryphon encounters at the Tir be made available for your use.

there are additional ideas and technologies I could share from my time as commander of our invasion forces that were scheduled to retake the Tir, including improved airship designs, provided we can reach a mutually productive conclusion in these prior matters.

sincerely-
D- (royal seal of Vulnavia)

(slightly different copy delivered to rebma)

Posted by at 11:16 AM Comments (3)
March 09, 2003
Excerpts from the Scientific Dairy of Doctor Delacroix session 27

I know with the powers at the disposal of many people around, that inconceivable amounts of money are a trivial matter, but I still like the sound of an economy well greased, and being able to pamper the right people.

with all the wealth I have been importing i have created a 1.2 percent drop in the global precious gems market, and a 2.3 percent drop in the worldwide gold market but, now that The ships have started coming in, I can feel no guilt.
we have the parts to double our air force, commercial naval fleet and military land transport abilities. We can double our agricultural storage, We have most of the troop support materials needed to take sorak's shadow, and start on kylikki's. There are firearms for every vulnavian citizen that wants one. I ordered packards to be given to our elected officials to attract more talent. It would take pages to detail all the advantages Vulnavia is experiencing.

Dom daniel is doing well to spite reduced resources, it should be ready in time for the opening. sorak has redoubled her efforts after I returned some of her people to her, and increased her bonus program as well as the victory fund for her race.

Unless I make something happen, Vulnavia will have warehouses overflowing with untapped resources for months before my existing population base can even get around to using everything from just he first series of shipments. Having Clark's fabulous brain trust on site, or aiding is going to be vital.

I was surprised by the degree to which kylikki indulged herself during her week long new york shopping spree. When i pulled her and her escort through the trump she brought a luggage rack full of items, she had a steamer trunk full of records, an elephant gun, a machine gun, a souvenir steering wheel I didn't ask about, and a crate of champagne. additionally she has 2 cars, a truck filled with mostly clothes, as well as a truck full of furniture on an incoming boat. I was really taken aback when she wanted to go to the firing range, and learn all about the new weapons she bought. At the firing range It became a volatile mix of Kylikki, bing crosby, champagne, guns, custom printed flora targets, and stuffed animals I had painted some time back to look like choasites.
It wasn't long until my potent Castilian biological autopilot took the helm. It is good to see kylikki acting more confidently, treating her situation as less transitory, and enjoying herself.

I have given several people the gift of broken pattern
the 4 africans I have worked with for at least 19 years each, and they have served as my personal body guards for many of those years
the 2 Drakke have signed on to join their new settlement here , and started lives as what passes for solid family men in their culture.
The shaman have been working for me for years in stockpile shadow, and have intermarried into our country.
the priestess is a gift to mapungubwe, and to work on jointly defending our territory.
good solid people, and a huge boon for what I need to do.

I was almost feeling good again
Then I got a trump
given the timeless reasoning of our esteemed regent in making secret assassination of family members state policy, it is not surprising that he now has discovered vicariously justifying the rape of his own sister as the wisest course of action in our foreign relations. by enacting this madness, he in effect opens the collective bowels of amber on all that our ancestors fought for. The diabolical sale of a pattern down river was done wholly without my knowledge, for that I am grateful. The enemy doesn't need to send spies, we betray ourselves. At this point I see the war as a puzzle where we all come into the room, and rearrange the pieces without informing the others.
Amber logic is giving a pattern away on the basis of wishful thinking while gaining nothing else then a vague absurd possibility of being able to think optimistically about the loss of one of the three most powerful places in the universe- truly a new level of abomination even for gerard. I haven't seen such a monstrosity since I added too much electricity while crossbreeding a javelina and a wallaby. this is an elevation for whore spawn, and more frighteningly... possibly for a whore.
we would have been better off enacting my plan for the tir, that was glibly rejected in favor of this abhoration. God and Oberon are dead.

how do I deal with this catastrophe?
how do I cope with the diabolical new political reality created by a regent who can't draw lines regarding people's behavior or motivations?
wait...
I love it when a plan comes together...
aha! oh the humanity!

it is clear I am an outsider in amber - amen, but the price I will pay remains unclear.
gerhard is becoming a better liar, and better at keeping secrets, thusly he is of vastly less use to me as regent. I am seeing the correlations between the way amber is run, with the management of organized crime with all the secrecy and codes of silence. Amber could be a legitimate established government, even a monarchy is preferable to the Mafia, but in truth Amber would have to work it's way up to be the mob, because at least the mob makes considerations for family. An interesting side note is that from time to time I enjoy a lively correspondence with a mafia don I helped imprison. I agreed to look after his children, and protect them if he paid for his crimes. His son has a new identity, and is close to graduating our medical academy with honors. Now there is a father who could control his child.

It is clear gerard values the appearance of legitimacy more then actual legitimacy.
I am alarmingly comfortable with the fact that he doesn't trust me, I loose sleep over the fact that I can't trust him, because he is between me and them.
given these two variables I find it difficult to believe that he was spurred to his characteristic inaction with the information I relayed to him in relation to Jacob's criminality. new inquiries with new sources are required.

I need to see Moire or strangle some real chaosians. of the 3 dozen things I have done for the queen this last fiscal quarter, separation is the most difficult.

Posted by at 11:26 PM Comments (11)
March 05, 2003
Another brief excerpt from the medical journal

It seems The Regent thinks the royal way is more valuable then I am to the war effort, I Hope he tries sending them into battle with their ink blotters, and typecases in leiu of my undervalued resources.

I think the chemicals I have been taking, and a general lack of sleep have tendered my dreams vastly more lucid. I dreamt the entire misbegotten clan was chasing the enemy across shadow when we stopped by a charming local stream.

Torriana was to spoiled and self absorbed to be stuck by it's simple beauty
Whora observed her reflection
Jacob though it was a good occasion to take a piss on the local flora, and fauna
Fineas pondered diverting it's natural course it a friendly village so he could be hailed as a hero while depriving the other villages of water
Gerhard tripped on a stone, and nearly drowned in 3 inches of water until someone (not I) pulled him out
Benedict didn't think it would impede troop movement
Reese was scared of his own reflection, and ran away
Dara stayed in the bushes
I determined the mineral bacteria ratios , and deemed it to be healthy. I thought of boating with my boys, I thought of a picnic, I thought of the local ecology, I thought of low scale hydro-electric power. I thought.

Posted by at 11:51 AM Comments (18)
March 02, 2003
Dr. Delacroix's medical journal bonus excerpt

Gerhard -
our fearless moral compass without a magnetic north
How a such moron could have no shame, and still possess even an autonomic nervous system?

If he hadn't been the epitome of cosmic scale ineptitude and neglect
If he hadn't allowed his daughter to run all over creation with a chaosite to the degree that it apparently troubles even Jelerak.
If he hadn't began a constant series of chaosite loving reforms
If my vital research and the disposal of booty I earn in battle didn't have more strings attached then a marionette
If the regents ill-breed daughter could avoid treating her elders with disrespect
If he hadn't destroyed my ability to trust him by making the secret assassination of family members state policy.

things would have been difficult, but then...

I tried to pick up the pieces in good faith. I swallowed my pride and really tried to work things out. I brought up a host of concerns in a constructive manner.
I attempted to politely bring up the issue about prince Jacob's wholesale necromancy with the regent, Prince Jacob having refused to be reasonable in the matter, and accept my offer of compensation. apparently one prince's ineffective sadistic dabbling in the degenerate arts is equal to a single comparatively humane voyage of scientific discovery on a single enemy in defense of the realm, at least in they eyes of one spit gargling imbecile. He says he has dealt with the problem, and considers the case closed, but it is his typical solution of ignoring the problem, and leaving Amber at risk. You can read the text for your self.
" I suggest that Jacob's souls and troop remains be properly interred (laid to rest) in their home shadow because thousands of people know about it, and all it takes is one of the souls to escape and get captured by the wrong person to give the entire family a huge black eye, and damage even more recruitment possibilities.
Besides they have not been used in months. Even if their containment is 100 percent effective, the souls are still unusable because again they are not an effective weapon versus magic, and souls will escape during their use, and each one of those enraged souls has a story it is eager to tell that is damning to Amber.
It also might go a ways towards being able to access more africans for amber related assignments"

I have given him three easy chances to regain some trust, before a situation arouse where he needed my help, he has ignored all of them in favor of his chronic moral back peddling, buttressing of a crumbling status quo, and inertia, all while he shameless holds out a hand asking for my aid.

jackass

I just wish he would marry Lirazel, and get this vomitous chaosite loving out of his system in a manner that won't leave us shoveling his shit for millennia.

pig-headed ignoramus

Posted by at 07:13 PM Comments (7)
February 27, 2003
Two Letters

Dear Ms. Wodehouse- editor, the royal way
We are delighted that you have decided to attempt to improve your greatly tarnished reputation for journalistic integrity by referencing a first hand source, or at least a non-fictive one.
We are happy to welcome you to the Vulnavian press corps. We currently have representatives from 2 shadows, and 13 countries stationed in our capital city.

The first stage is to familiarize yourself with the regional laws Your candidate and editor agreed to uphold according to page 4 sub paragraph 3 of your application, laws that are also subject to our full extradition treaty with Amber. We have enclosed the 57 page abbreviated guide to journalism practices in Vulnavia to prepare for your trip. Accommodations have been made for your representative in our spacious journalist quarters, and a customary interview with the state board of journalistic ethics and information accuracy has been scheduled. We believe you will find it both informative, and educational enough to inspire your entire organization to an entirely new plateau of professionalism.
enclosed is your reporters detailed itinerary, and contact list with the names of her mandatory security escort.

welcome aboard!
Marsha Sherwin, Executive Director of Foreign affairs

dear Jelerak
thank you for your prompt reply.
Firstly let me apologize for your contact with Torriana and Jacob. At times they can require an aggressive set of diplomatic skills for those of us on the inside as well.
I am contacting you on 3 matters.
1- confirming the nature of your relationship with Gweneth in order to clear her name.
2- Confirm your status of non-aggression in relation to My properties in Dom-daniel
3- a request for information in relation to agents of chaos.

Firstly, I have personally contacted the queen of Rebma, to begin to absolve Gweneth from a situation I believe is related more to a conflict of personalities then any genuine wrong doing, and a testimonial from your representatives could go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. I have already received multiple testimonials from parties affiliated with Dom- Daniel. I am sure Gweneth would value any aid you can provide in this matter. Also the possible continuation of any business arrangements you had with her in relation to the war effort might be possible.

Secondly the staff of my newly purchased property in Dom-Daniel has some concern in regards to your malevolence against our holding there, and I am merely seeking a clarification of your non-aggressive position to reassure them.

Thirdly I am also very interested in any information you have relating to activities in the courts of chaos, particularly those of house chandicot. I am not sure what compensation you would require, but I do have direct access to the leaders of Amber, Rebma, and a host of my own resources to draw on. Additionally I would be happy to convey any messages to the leadership you would wish in the future.

(what follows is instructions for a more anonymous method of contact)

many thanks, and I look forward to hearing form you soon
Prince Diego

Posted by at 01:21 AM Comments (2)
February 24, 2003
Doctor Delacroix journal entries session 26

I have never experienced such a strong growth, and extreme loss in such a short period. I think the lack of sleep is starting to affect me.
I can finally enjoy acceptable conversation with some one clearly committed to the path of virtue. The advice my Grandfather offers is proving to be invaluable.
I am somewhat troubled by some of Clark's views, as I do not feel they are entirely ethically mandated, nor supported by biological evidence. We will discuss this later as our disagreements are trivial in comparision to what is becoming routine.

I have decided to open doors to Reese, because his inaction has been better then the misdeeds of the others. My veiw of his cowardice has been modifed by recent events.

I think I will open my secret deep drinking cavern for the first time in seven years soon.

(here is a draft of what I needed to say to gerhard- This unedited..as I presented it to my grandfather)
It is clear the most important thing to you is the war, and the most important things to me are safety, and respect. My whole coronation gala was basically a fine for not doing anything about Whora, to gain a boon for my people, establish enduring economic relations, and receive the respect that should have existed in the first place, not stroking my ego, as evidenced by the completely lack of displays relating to my numerous personal achievements.

I am troubled by the degree to which you defer to your fathers leadership as an example. It is clear he was able to accomplish some impressive feats, but in the final analysis He is also accountable for some terrible failures that resulted in the loss of far too much blood, and the very bad situation we have today. In the end if you will have the same situation, if you don't make some changes you will have the same result, although I doubt it will be by my hand. I think the main problem is greater then simply the stunningly lack of accountability when grossly unacceptable conduct occurs (i.e. mass necromancy), but there is also a lack of reward for valor (i.e. putting yourself at risk to kill slimies, or other aid to amber). It is my experience If people are not systemically rewarded, they will seek their own rewards, in your generation I believe this took the form of sibling rivalry. In mine I suspect something even more sinister, as we have even less commonality in upbringing. Monkeys in my laboratories are subject to more conditioning then amberites, and they don't have the power to reap the unspeakable. The others did not have the good fortune of my privileged upbringing, but I am not content to accept second best, and consistently watch you run what should be the greatest of kingdoms like a chaosite loving banana republic.

personally, I owe to much to too many people not to subject my actions to cost benefit analysis. one key area that you have greatly reduced value to me is in limiting my ability to research with this damnable new policy about prisoners. they are not people, would you object to me cutting open a swine in order to insure the health, and safety of our people? From one prisoner I was able to devise a chemical free method of containing shape-shifting, several new methods of detecting shape-shifters underwater, three new blood creatures, and exciting new imprisonment procedures. This could very well cost us the war over the long haul.
( a detail cost/benefit analysis ledger detailing my entire relationship with amber followed- needless to say I do have some continuing issues with the balance)

I feel oberons second greatest failure was the lack of a larger sustainable infrastructure held by royal hands, by focusing more exclusively on martial endeavors early on, our ability to retain coherent military force in the long term was diminished. Also there would be the additional benefit of personnel being able to be converted much more readily to peacetime use. If some of the Oberon's children had vested interests in fostering the well being of others, much trouble could have been avoided. Also I think we can learn from the example of Rebma, who in many ways, does more with less.

I feel that these 2 items need to be addressed as promptly as possible.

I don't think you understand what a gross error in judgment the secret assassination was. I can think of no valid reason why his family here was not notified. I would have to say that a chaosite spy would have accomplished a huge amount if they created a potential rift between Amber and the crown princess of Rebma, a prince, and a whole new universe. we don't need to do this sort of thing ourselves. I could have easily captured Van Eyck, held him, and eventually deferred to an orthodox legal judgment, in fact I would have been obligated to do so via our treaties.

Completely ignoring the fact that where I come from killing a man's brother, then, I suspect, improperly disposing of the body, without telling him, has as much ethical common sense as pissing on someone's plate while they are eating.
Ignoring the fact that I have given more lives in service to Amber in the span of a few short months then I have sacrificed for my own country in over 180 years, and I have earned more then the required respect.
Blissfully ignorant of the fact that I have done everything you asked, and fought fearlessly for you even while you have made some damaging decisions.
Not mentioning that, based on the data I have, complete rehabilitation of van eyck, in one of our facilities, with the aid of Torianna, would have been 97.463 percent likely within 24 months.
Ignoring all these very clear facts....
Is it really a good idea to completely infuriate some one with more then all the powers of lirazel, more contacts, and over 100 times the resources, who is otherwise a strident foe of your enemy? I am grateful I have good people around me, that talked me out of a chain of events that would have proved damning for both of us.
In this case you have completely lost the way, and are treating chaosites, who have committed more atrocities, in manner better then your own flesh and blood. This is a gross violation of all we should hold dear. You have needlessly sacrificed a great deal of the trust I placed in you with extreme difficulty. There is going to be a time when you will need that trust.

you have done nothing with the royal way, and yet you say they can do what they want as long as they obey, but yet you ignore them when they disobey the request of a prince. I may be the only shape-shifter, but it is clear I am not the only one who can talk out of both sides of my ass. You go a long way to constantly justify your own inertia.

Posted by at 11:51 PM Comments (30)
February 09, 2003
A letter to Benedict

Dear Benedict
It was a genuine pleasure to finally meet you, and I look forward to continuing our discussions concerning the war, tactics, and the future of amber as soon as possible.

To show my respect for your concern expressed in relation the welfare of my people and I, We would like to offer you a modest sample of the boons that sentiment can endear. enclosed is a list of the items I am having delivered this afternoon with the always excellent aid of Kelamon, and the people of Mapungubwe, please feel free to use or distribute it as you will. If should you have any troop support needs in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me personally. A great deal more of supplies will be arriving this month as the ship filled with supplies I have ordered will begin reaching the island in mass starting in 9 days. we have had to expand our docking facilities exclusively to accommodate the additional volume.

warmest reguards - Lord Diego

item listing---
$ 5 million in gold/ other metals
$ 14 million in precious gems and jewelry
one half ton of refined silver
3 weaponized magic coin arrows in shielded case (with instructions)
vouchers for 12,000 field ration packets
detailed plans and schematics for turn of the century tanks, and water craft
19 barrels of rum
one ton universal medical supplies ( scrubs, iodine, crutches, wheelchairs, incredible amounts of gauze, assorted medical tools, casting supplies, books, e.t.c.)
dated vouchers for 2 tons of refined metals From Dom-Daniel mountain
50 industrial bolts of uniform grade fabric
21 rolls of barbwire (50 yards each)
6 canoes (also used as containers )
7500 calabashes (canteens)
100 cavalry sabers
1000 spears
2000 combat knives
10 bolts reinforced leather
100 individual vouchers for full medical treatment
6 vouchers for age extension treatments for remotely positioned staff
3000 pounds of produce
vouchers for 1100 hours of Drakke services
100 vouchers for Vulnavian first aid training
1000 bedrolls
126 pup tents
1000 mess kits
1200 units of canned fruit
2000 units canned meats
100 Amber usable rifles
other assorted millitary support supplies for 20,000
18 wagons
30 carts
assortment of luxury personal items

all is well organized, clearly labeled, and more then properly contained

(overall value in excess of 22 million)

Posted by at 04:54 AM Comments (5)
February 04, 2003
Diego's journal session 25

Often when things get bad I look for the strength and ethical guidence of my father.
when things are beyond awful, and nothing less then opening pandora's box will suffice, I call for my grandfather.

he should be here in the morning.

I finally got a chance to talk to benedict, and he seemed agreeable. I have high hopes for him. It is likely the height of folly to assume ethics could exist in Amber, but the majority of ethical behavior involves discipline, and it is clear he has it in abundence. I want to wait to bring him the full desperation of our situation, until he gets settled. What I wanted to say was...
Benedict, I will share give you the welcoming gift I doubt you will find elsewhere in amber, candor. I do this in great confidence as It has proven to be a damning trait of mine here.
Gerhard is the most incompetent of the scores of commanders I have ever served under, (... and this includes major Fredrickson who lost over fifty men and horses to sioux sqaws with papooses, because he failed to properly secure the munitions ). He has created an environment in which I feel patently unsafe, not to mention disrespected and unsupported. I have had to focus my efforts on establishing independent resources instead of killing scum because amber is unreliable. My ability to fight the war would be greatly enhanced if there was some one on the throne I could look in the eye. I have a complete lack of faith in the ability of the present regent to simply insure my welfare versus the other cousins, and because of that I have been forced to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars that had been reserved for the war effort to insuring security for myself, and my people. please let me get you a cushion for that throne now, my king.
I don't traffic in moral ambiguity or mince my words. Any one worth their salt would want the portion of their life back that was on flowery words for far more valuable endeavors. It is a weak mind that needs to be buttressed by unearned praise. However I do wish several local factions would take a whiff of objective reality periodically.

I haven't had the time to deal with the royal way, but I did see that my letter was published unedited, violating the direct request from a prince of amber. if pathetic lump regent do-nothing can't handle the situation, I will, and I can't say my solution will be more popular then enduring. fineas managed to issue a letter in defense of me. I doubt it was because of remorse for the disrespect he has shown me, considering he managed to turn it into yet another publicity stunt for Amber's favorite assassin. Is that suprising-no, Paradox, and inconsistancy are the lingua franca here. They are not exclusive to the colorful fictive speculations of the local press. for example....
-Amber doesn't want me to handle captives, amber gets mad when I give them to someone who can so I can be free to further the war effort.
-Amber doesn't compensate me for my battle expenses, then Amber gets mad at how I dispose of the booty my troops earn.
-Amber is at war with chaos. Amber crawls into bed with every chaosite house it can.
-Fineas outright kills a prisoner with impunity, then prisoner dies after using logrus on one of my people, and I have extracted valuable data only to be greeted by calls of my treason.
-I attempt to acknowledge my obligations to my people, and recoup a tenth of what I have invested in the war effort while establishing a material basis for good relations between Amber, and Vulnavia only to be accused of naked profiteering.
- the person who impales thousands of bound people, sucks out their souls for his own amusement then runs away from a vital battle, with people who have since sent attacked us, is hailed as a fearless hero
To paraphrase a colorful comment from my mother in-law, "If Amber had as many asses as it has faces, it would shit itself to death"

I keep remembering something my father said to me shortly before he died. I was upset with the fact that he had given had given some one what I felt at the time was far too light sentence, and he explained to me that " sociopaths are sociopaths to everyone, you can't take it personally". I keep thinking how I should apply his wisdom to amber.

I am looking forward to my next radio address. I finally get to bring some of my recent gains directly to the people. On my way to mapungubwe I was able to see what 2.5 months of raises, overtime and giant bonuses has done for the island. the ship compacity has greatly expanded, the zeppelin production facilities are well under hand, the tunnel network is growing, the improved electro shield is ready for testing, the elemental conduit is being dug, the belcher cannons can now defend the ports, the massive babbage engines are humming merrily, the new buses arrived from New York, and so many other things have really given the island a vibrant sense of new life for me. I must make sure that it's life is long and prosperous. I need to focus on vulnavian security before our massive foundation day celebrations.

I haven't had the chance to enjoy the company of a woman in too long. If it wasn't for lynxia I would never even be able to sleep at all, and still I haven't gotten near enough with all the concerns being generated. I tried to take a break with kylikki when I was working on some projects, but a patients unexpected muscle spasms put the kaboosh on our endeavors. M'wassi still looks very attractive as well, but I think opening one pandora's box a week is my limit. I pray the other pandoras boxes in my contingency plans are not opened either, I would hate to have something happen to me, causing the information and tissue samples well hidden in shadow delivered to unsavory hands.

Posted by at 05:34 AM Comments (6)
January 24, 2003
Diego bonus journal, s. 24

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
speed.

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

Posted by Trimmer at 04:40 PM Comments (3)
January 19, 2003
Diego's editorial session 24

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 itís 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 donít 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-

Dear Jessica
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 ainít 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 ďdirectlyĒ.

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 havenít 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 doesnít 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 ďwhorianaĒ. 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 canít 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 donít 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 Reeseís feelings. People would be comforted to know of I do have an element of concern for our noble regentís esteemed house guests.

Messing with my people.. that brings us back to the unhappy subject of Amber doesnít it ? it looks like I will have to wait for this inspired coupling to occur. I canít 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 wasnít 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 isnít 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.

Gerhardís 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 donít have an immediate answer. Today I went to The funeral for the researcher slain in Danteís 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.

Posted by at 04:17 AM Comments (22)
January 11, 2003
Drakke ecology

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.

Posted by at 11:45 AM Comments (3)
January 05, 2003
Diego's journal session 23

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.

Posted by at 05:46 AM Comments (1)
December 29, 2002
Diego's can't sleep bonus journal

A great many thoughts are running through my head as I dash down the steps leading to the underground holding cells, in anticipation of working out a considerable amount of pent up frustration on a very unlucky captive. On the way down I passed a caged monkey. It was in one of our secondary labs, frothing and rattling it's cage. it gave me pause to think...

Gerhard versus a near rabid chimp as regent of Amber

In favor of the Chimp
1- the chimp couldn't fling his feces as far
2- the chimp might bite whora
3- the chimp would eat less
4- no one would have expectations of the chimp doing anything to begin with
5- the chimp would be instinctually revolted by the taint of mass necromancy
6- the chimp wouldn't be subject to Toriana's guilt trips
7- even a rabid chimp knows the proper way to treat chaosites
In favor of Gerhard
1-gerhard might be nicer to small animals

Moire-
I had a long talk with her sister, who recommended I put aside my dreams of a real relationship with the queen in favor of my own sanity. Several bottles of my special industrial strength rum and I endeavored that very task this evening, but failed miserably.
I tried, I can't. I am too far down a slippery slope. Even I can see the analogy one might make of trying to make love to the Arctic permafrost. However I think a better analogy might be to having licked the pump handle on a frozen winter day, and finding your tongue stuck.
To a large extent me abandoning thoughts of her would be abandoning hope. I desperately need something that gives me hope. Outside of utter intoxication, and blind estrus, the only time I have felt entirely at ease, since contracting the Amberite pox, is around her. I don't suspect it is even possible for me to find a thread of friendship, support, or even respect in the infernal viper pit of my involuntary relations. Where am I to go then? It has gotten so bad my flesh starts to crawl during my brief periods of contact with Amber, and now that I sense tendrils coming out of the viper pit reaching to destroy my only forecasted chance at happiness. my lament grows even deeper.
The rumor has started going around that I traded a Hendrake captive for a date with Moire. I simply intimated that it would be agreeable to finalize any paper work she required over dinner, and drinks. No either or scenario was discussed. I suffered a loss to do what was best for all involved, besides...
1- only had fully realized storage for one chaosite lord
2- I lost over a thousand of my troops, and risked my life for the prisoner, so if i trade my well earned booty for a bag of magic beans, it is my prerogative
3-Moire had partial rights to spoils from the battle as well, because she contributed 8 to 12 battle mages, and to my knowledge was never even thanked
4-who would you rather have discussing Martin's release, the full resources of Rebma or me during a field mission? that is just want the enemy wants to have 2 of us occupied while they use whora spawn to recruit. we can't afford it. we can have rebma do it for free.
5- It is good for amber rebma relations
6- his more immediate family should have priority, I have no intention of practicing extortion in a family matter
7-Morwyn gave us a captive her and her tritons gained in the last battle
8-I wanted a prisoner, I got a hostage

these were the reasons I gave to Gerhard. since news has already reached the regent, it is reasonable to assume it has reach his daughter, and the whore. They both are popular, and well connected in Rebma. I have no reason to assume they would do anything benevolent with it. If they think any form of interference would be beneficial to themselves or Amber, they will be proven tragically mistaken. I hope they don't line themselves up for annihilation with all the other barriers between Moire and I. I have a very long battle ahead. I must begin to take the precautions against the covert surveillance I have been suspecting for some time. I consider this breech of privacy is most likely an affirmation of that belief. Given the conduct of the clan so far, I can ill afford to hold out a sense of optimism in this matter. I am a rare case indeed, an amberite born with a super-ego.

My personal struggles have grown more important to me, as I am finding it difficult to care about the greater war due to the increasingly liberal definitions of victory, and the war itself has become too multifacted. being concerned about what chaosites think is like an exterminator weeping over cockroaches.

Posted by at 07:10 AM Comments (6)
December 23, 2002
Diego's journal session 22

I have been staying away from Gerhard's demonic monkey house, however avoiding that place is a battle in which I will never be able to claim total victory. Now I guess I am giving amber that epithet prematurely, as now Gerhard's Demonic Monkey House Hotel Bar and Grill (chaosites half price) is more suitable. I can't believe they voted to "play nice" in our treatment of the captives. the phrase "men of amber" is even more ironic now. I may be the only regenerating shape-shifter in the group, but it is clear I am not the only one of us who can leave his testicles at the bar with impunity. They let a chaos queen who intimated threats to Moire listen in on a family meeting! The whore of amber even gave her a trump. could we be bending over any deeper? sacre dios!

Ever since attuning to the jewel, my dreams and daydreams have become more lucid. I had one dream bring back a memory that had been suppressed for years. When I was a young teen-ager, My older brothers had prepared a typical sibling rivalry trick on the boat a was using. they intended just to leave me adrift, but their was an explosion as engine caught fire, and rapidly spread. My mother observed me from the beach, and used her magic to bring my briefly unconscious body to the shore. this I remembered, and I remember seeing her burnt body on the beach. what I didn't recall was waking up in her arms while she was sobbing, telling me how much she loved me, as she got hotter and hotter cooking from the inside holding me tighter and tighter. I had burn marks from where her arms had been. later I found out that father had made it so she couldn't use her magic under penalty of death, because she used it to conceal her fling with Corwin. she used it to save me. one parent died that day, and took a huge part of the other with her. for many years the wounds would return whenever I was shape shifting under duress. it is not uncommon for old wounds to resurface from time to time, if you rush things, but this one was unusual. I have decided to keep it, at least for the time being, much to the alarm of kylikki.

I now know what the most valuable possible thing is.. peace of mind. so any gift amber can bestow upon me will never equal the infinitude of good nights sleep it has taken away. when Gerhard's neglect as a monarch intersects with his neglect as a parent, a weak point emerges that may be the destruction of amber. He had best show his spawn the meaning of respect soon, because my patience is not infinite, nor am I willing to enter battle with enemies on both sides. Not to mention what I am reading between the lines of what the queen of air and flatulence said about whora. Even the way people speak here is unsettling to me, I much prefer talking to the benevolent literally minded people of my home. This partially explains why my well couched comment to the tramp was picked up on.

Gerhard seems to be morally opposed to limits. people are good because they have limits, clackers are good because they have numerous limits, however my feeling grows that many of the immortals from rebma, amber, and especially chaos are like a herd of damned swine who refuse to leave their slop. Immortality is just a longer time to get a critical mass of unforgettable, unforgivable psychological scars, then expunge them via active and passive osmosis on your shorter lived brethren. They might refer to a superior ability to make judgments based on experience, but judging people who only live a lifetime with the emotional baggage of ten lifetimes does not strike me as justice. There comes a time to end it, and charge into the unknown, not letting death's door hit you in the ass. I pray a have the courage when my time comes.

The barometer of when to hear death's sweet cattle call should likely be how jaded you have become, not being able to enjoy the simple joys of men..forever trapped in an ornate cage of your own design composed of paranoia, and delusional self-importance. I guess that means... bottoms up...
una cerveza por favor

Posted by at 03:07 AM Comments (6)
December 08, 2002
Diego's dairy session 21: The perils of Hatching season

It was late when I got down with dealing with the battle aftermath, and I was beat, but I still wanted to show kylikki some of the island, so I bribed walter, my projectionist, with a gold coin, and set her up for our own private midnight screening of Snow White. I feel asleep on her shoulder shortly into the feature, but she seemed to love it, I think I might have a gorgeous blossoming viking cinema aficionado on my hands. She was even humming "Heigh-Ho" when I took her out to my private beach early the next morning to practice some skeet shooting, with just us and some clackers. I want her to be able to defend herself from everything but me. In short order the situation turns into a wonderful tussle in the waves causing us to dispense with the adult clackers for discretion

however I forgot it was hatching season.....

soon after we were too involved to notice promptly, We had at least 300 curious baby foot high whitish pink clacker hatchlings coming out of the woods to see what is going on, without the adults to keep them at bay. To make matters worse, in characteristic clacker fashion, they start trying to win approval by emulating our actions. there are crabs on top of each other, crabs thrusting pelvises in the dirt, crabs rolling around on their back kicking out their powerful hind legs by the score, and chattering all the time. I leap to the boat to get some covering for her, as she starts to cry, and I can barely toss her a sundress, before I am nearly doubled over laughing hysterically, making the matter worse. Then I shift myself for modesty, and try to explain that clackers don't work that way, and that is a people thing to do. I think 2 understood. Once she got dressed she started laughing. we had a nice breakfast, and then I set out for some trump time. what a gal.
I love my crabs- and this is a banner hatching season, I hope we find battles for them in the next few months.

I discovered talking to gerard can not be entirely like dental surgery ( with a pint of good spiced rum in me). He, and kelamon seem to somewhat trust me. If they considered me a threat they wouldn't have given me magic coins, amber gun powder, and, anti-shapeshifter drugs to research, I don't feel as paranoid now that I have these items under research in my facilities. I feel like I can breath. I do regret my agreement with gerhard has prohibited me from anonymously publishing my second song of disdain for whora, a simple evocative round called " If you've got no legs, don't come crawling to me." I am greatly pleased by the continuing saturation of the first slut of Amber opus. I have been feeling more creative lately, probably of all the left brain/ right brain contortions for Moire...

Those who have run so quickly to suckle the sour toxic venom that doubtlessly flows from flora's bosom, even when taking sides wasn't required, might be suprised to learn that their dear aunty whora has become the gold standard for my new behavior towards Amber. One of their local newspapers ran a headline that said "Diego insults his betters" after I expressed my sentiment towards my former aunts universally repellant conduct. My response was.... " If by better you mean doing nothing to enhance the prosperity or security of the kingdom for a millennium, then insulting the people your neglect requires you to recruit! simply put... Senora insulted with the bull, and Senora got the horns. " So I have decided that I will follow her lead, in order to appear more appealing to the contradictory values of the local populace. Besides Having major actions taken on my front without consulting me has exceeded my patience. Too many people depend on me, for me to dance with the devil while partnered with people who fail to see my worth nor afford me common courtesy. apparently here it is a lesser sin to personally impale your troops and suck out their souls then it is to hold people accountable for their behavior In Amber.

I have had just under 2 months experience with amber in my exisitence. It got off to a good start with adultery, then moved on to abduction, and torture, recently getting around to deception, and necromancy. I would not be suprised by genocide popping up on the list in the future. In comparision, I have known the wise and kind people of Mapungubwe for 300 years with two incidents of petty theft to report.

The new policy requires as little as possible presence in amber, and I am moving most of my experienced personnel to other fronts, I will keep the house for testing, and business. I will still be expected to contribute something. out of the choices of battle, espionage, recruitment, or research, I have chosen recruitment, because I would likely have very little support if injured or captured in battle, research would have to be shared, then could be used against me, and espionage is too dangerous without someone potent to watch your back.

so then who do I recruit? The ideal troops for my new goals are specialists that have little direct combat ability, and offer huge potential long term gains. If they take a good amount of time to recruit, all the better. this latest batch fits the bill nicely. I plan to use them extensively. I hope to get in as much research in on the side as possible. I already have my first coin making machine, sharing only what I deem safe.

later in speaking with gerard....
I tried to convey the fact to him, that the jewel of amber is a good way to bring family back, and that it is ironic that his nepotism, in the form of only having torriana attuned to the jewel, is keeping us from rescuing family.

Posted by at 09:50 AM Comments (12)
December 01, 2002
Diego's Journal 20

I am laying in bed a devout marine biologist in a newly discovered undersea kingdom with a very attractive woman. The Woman has the bite marks of at least five different species all over her body, and their all mine. To add to that, the bed is completely surrounded by treasure chests pulled from 2 sunken colonial armadas, and they are here because we have overflown my newly purchased hotel with the huge amount of sunken salvage.
you would think I would be happy.

I guess it is true what they say about idle hands..

....and me without a research project.
The woman, kylikki is capable, desirable, bright, and adaptable. If she is trustworthy, it is a near unbeatable package. she may well deserve more then some one who is highly conflicted, and clearly deserves more then I might be able to offer her. At first during our intimate time together My cries of Moire were interpreted as m.o.r.e. , and she was always willing to oblige, but now I find myself comfortable with her.
I found that parenting was nothing but a series of infinite adaptations within the confines of establishing respectable young people. My instincts tell me she would make a great mother. I need offspring, to continue the family tradition, if not of leadership, then of research, and heritage.
Moire offers much, but will require time. I do have trouble about the degree to which she seems to practice politics, and favors opulence. For the last ten years I have lived in a cave, sleeping on an old army cot, and drinking from a wooden cup that my boys made for me. I don't want the wealth she could offer me, but the security. the power she has over me is supernatural, but I don't suspect it's origins extend much further then my own biology- I've checked. I need to know more about her, and work towards her, before I can make a lasting decision in this matter. In a way she has been my only friend since this whole ordeal began, and in addition to healing her sister I have done 2 dozen other things to please her, in very trying times for me, but she can be so very distant. On the good news side I am seeing cracks in her iceberg.

Fear- I don't like not being having my whole concept of personal power turned upside down, and the fact that several of my "family" seem to have little ethical restraint makes he process terrifying. when fear rules the day good decision making processes become vastly more difficult

As suspected, interference from peers, and this unimaginable desire to accommodate the enemy has made it difficult to achieve my goals in Gryphon held territory. I would of rather had the lizard front, but now that johrom has become whore-rom, I find that unlikely. I don't have the troops or support I need from amber to make serious advances in my charged territory, and I cannot commit sufficient resources away from guarding my homeland to a front with so little third party commitment. So I have been focusing on my big plan here in dom daniel. In the end I gave up the ghost on the Gryphon front because of too much interference, and the simple fact that I didn't have the troops to do the job.

Gerhard tried to talk to me about the Flora situation, I will not have a lecture on that vile odious bloodsucking harpy. If you didn't learn that it isn't a good idea to triffle with people's emotions after 5 years of rape in hell, you just aren't going to learn to respect anything. I officially disowned her, and suggested that in the future his ambassadors treat people with an iota of respect. I took an oath to defend amber in exchange for him doing the same for my home, not to be treated like a subordinate. I have more years of experience as a regent then he does, and I have the added bonus of being able to break the three sylable barrier. Gerhard seemed to be upset that our tiff leaked to the press, and made us look bad. If gerhard would properly curbed the press corps dogs, and for that matter, the nobles, he would not have this problem. I am not speaking as a matter of injured personal pride but as a practical matter of war, people need motivation, and there needs to be more security, not a bunch of fat noble yentas with too much time and money spreading celebrity gossip when good people are dying.

the battle was passable, and I got some much needed research subjects. I am also looking forward to the matter of researching amber gun powder as well as anti-shapeshifting drugs. I also look forward to hosting lewella, and moire in the very near future, a the recruitment of a very exciting new army. I also wil be attending to our new captive, and I can only smile....

Posted by at 01:36 AM Comments (2)
November 18, 2002
Diego journal session 19

consolidated telegraph --night delivery
from: Vulnavian embassy- New York, New York
to: Irvine Fowler, Decca recordings-west coast division Santa Monica, California

thank you for the Bing Crosby recordings, they are a true pleasure >stop<
Hope you wife is still well, and enjoying her considerable weight loss >stop<
we enjoyed having her as a visitor to our island, she may return anytime >stop<
the ensemble she reccomended to you has released a new recording >stop<
it is very infectious, and likely a hit >stop<
even if we can only sell it in blue stores >stop<
it is called the "Tu Madre es Puta polka" >stop<
a courier will be arriving next week with our latest recordings >stop<
your wife mentioned your brother saul has developed chronic back pain >stop<
please send him to us for complimentary treatment >stop<
west coast tour being considered >stop<
warmest reguards - Lord Diego, Vulnavia >end<

I have made it back to an intact home, and the sand between my toes is intoxication.

Lewella is well, and what had given me identity here is no more. I miss my afternoons with Moire. I need another plot to get her attention. It isn't as if haven't done everything short of setting myself on fire already, but... I suspect in these new places it is all about the food chain, and where you are on it.
It seems the amber public will have a mixture of a custodial view of me, and a distancing view of me as well. I feel I averted a public relations disaster with generousity, and careful attention after the manticoras attack, but I am never likely going to be one with this place. I hope we can get some worthwhile trade contracts out of this mess. I've got Marsha on top of that.
with the salvage from the sunken armada, I should be able to get a mansion in lynxia, and get well on the way to becoming one of the best conjuring schools ever. we will have the best hospitality and boarding services across shadow of anyone with only 3 pupils, and places to stay in 3 shadows so far.
after this coming battle I will need to get some special new minions to establish an acceptable velocity of acheivement in dom daniel.

Posted by at 02:12 PM Comments (2)
November 05, 2002
Diego's journal 18

The day that was to be thee big day, and generate a better life for my people wasn't capable of fulfilling my goals. I can admit it was partially flawed in conception, generating too much interest in a time of war, but I am not going to dismiss the possibility of 'family' hands in the matter either. I cannot believe that amber itself would be attacked by so few, with so little premeditation, a death wish, or an direct invitation.

the entire clan showed up for my coronation, but I do not suspect it was out of benevolent motivations, as none offered congratulations, nor managed to pay a visit to my sick bed when I was injured in defending their own population (save Morwyn, and tanitheel). However I am grateful they were able to have the stamina to pick the carcass of the goodwill celebration I prepared, by helping themselves to some abandoned hors devours. I would not begrudge them the food, but it is only an alarmingly clear reflection of values, and priorities.

I have offered no unjustified offense to any of them, and extended generosity far greater then that they have shown me. In fact I quite readily forgave jacob for pointing a loaded weapon at my sister, an extreme offense in any one's eyes, and would allow him to atone for his secondary degenerate act with the liberation of the lives he has eternally perverted. Perhaps even more disturbing is the assassination of one of our captive by fineas, prior to my examination of the body. I wonder why an offer was extend for me to join this "family" if I am to be denied the chance to test my new weaponry, and use my knowledge gained from decades of successful chaosite containment? perhaps it was only to give my sweet aunt flora the chance to insult me. why wouldn't fineas want me to look at the bodies while they lived?

Then I will just assume the alarming freedom of action granted to others to increasingly distance myself from this carrion orgy of cannibalistic egos, and what I suspect is some extremely black treachery. Gerhard's success is his failure to exert his own incompetence due to his indemic ineptitude. I have no desire to be a lion tamer in this hell, but some one with a sense of decency needs to reign in the beasts, and I need an affirmation that there is some order of distinction between us and the enemy.

As to taking the increasingly lamentable vows, the treaties I asked for were signed publicly and promptly to my suprise. I wouldn't have asked for them had I been inducted with respect, and integrity. the ceremony and speech were acceptable. I didn't expect my semi-concealed insult to flora's egocentric hedonism to be noticed, but to giving her an iota of what she deserves is reward in and of itself, after all, the standing orders are to shoot repeatedly on site, should she enter the my island. If she thinks she had it bad under the gryphons, she really has no idea what I am capable of.

according to our regent "the Gryphons in Tir Tarngir have several possible options". I suspect I am to be asked to half way fight a war, and not allowed my only acceptable options of "medium rare, well done, or cubed", in determining the ultimate fate of every single Gryphon. The immortality they have granted me becomes a curse if there isn't a threat behind it, if there isn't a assurance that grave danger will be visited upon the head of any one who triffles with an amberite, it just means we can be tortured longer. no compromise or contrition is required.

things are much more palatable when I move away from the castle
I have taken one of the women we rescued from the gryphon's as my own, I feel she was the most desirable, and best able to be integrated with my own population. I will spend more time with her in the near future, but I suspect genuine loyalty will develop if I continue to treat her well. I have set her up as the first official student of my new conjuring school. she will be well provided for, it is so hard to find women experienced in accommodating the unique needs of shapeshifters...she is a very appealing way to wet my appetite for the main course to come.

The hungers inside me that were unduly awakened by my aunts unfortunate, and costly attempt to gratify her own ego, have been recently brought to new heights in my rapidly growing feelings for Moire. I was planning to generally check out the holdings of the tir library, and find a book of poetry so I could brush up for her, but then it occurred to me that I could present her with a library globe, and have her give a reading list to gerhard, we (consequently I) would have a whole new line of coercion with her. Not apolitically astute move to take the globe to her, but then I have always responded poorly when a book-keeper tells me what I can't do. there will be no heights to which I won't soar, and no depths to which I will not sink to claim this woman. to spite being very difficult to read, and more then a little jaded, Moire has shown me her greatest weakness. this coupled with being on extremely good terms with those closest to her, will bring me my desire in time. I wonder what my sperm donor did to win her
I have decided to delay any attempt to rescue corwin until a decisive victory in this matter.

Posted by at 02:35 AM Comments (19)
October 29, 2002
Diego's journal 17

As a soldier, doctor, and traveller I have washed a ocean of blood off my hands, and none of it has left as deep a stain as my few concessions to politics. It is for this reason, I am now going to periodically keep track of my opinions in a more conventional format, in the hopes of being able to at some point make sense of this hopelessly fluid situation in which I find myself .

In general the analogy I can make for the present period is one of walking to the hangman with aplomb. it would appear publicly that I have enormous exuberance for my coronation, when in fact the endeavor has all the zest of a funerary procession for me. Firstly I am deeply troubled not only by the familial embrace of the degenerate craft of necromancy, but a readiness to make accommodations for an enemy that deserves no quarter. Our enemies behavior cannot even be conditioned to the degree a common house pets could. they must be slaughtered without mercy until they fit comfortably, and humbly under our thumb. come the morrow my views on the subject will be painfully clear to all, from the gallows of my coronation. The vows they are requiring me to take there, they make a ready mockery of in this respect.

I suspect in the future I will look at my decision to assume this new role critically, but there was not really a choice to option out. If Amber dies too many splendid lives will fall. The noxious carbuncle on Kolvir mountain has deep roots that hold too many things together.

I now have residences at which I can offer hospitality to those who are of a virtuous mindset.

I recently acquired some women who were held as pleasure slaves by a chaos noble (a truly oxymoronic term). I have a strange mix of emotions towards them, both pure, and impure. It has become clear to me that I cannot weather the life here without the feminine comforts I have denied myself for too long. I am not sure how to handle the situation in a gentlemanly manner. If a great man like Thomas Jefferson could harbor his indulgences, and still accomplish what he did, I suspect I might require mine, an opiate for a strange and savage place.

I made my return to Rebma, to aid my fallen aunt. I know my treatment will be a success, but the temptation to do a premature victory dance around my premature detractors there was nearly insurmountable. I think my aunt, and I will be solid friends. she appears to have amazing integrity. Moire is difficult to read, and occasionally difficult to deal with, but offers charm, and grace beyond words. Morwyn is my island of pride and happiness in a turbulent sea. Rebma itself seems to focus on ornament , and indulgence too much for my taste.

so let me close by offering up a vicarious toast to myself in the future reading of these words.. here's to solid research, girls, and gun-powder that works.

Posted by at 09:13 PM Comments (0)
October 20, 2002
Diego's Gala in more detail

(not the word for word text of the actual press release)
so the gala is primarily divided up into sections in the style of a turn of the century exposition, or state fair.
1- Vulnavian hospitality hall, 2- victory hall, 3- concert hall, 4- entertainments hall, 5-hall of games, 6- main square
the coronation ceremony begins at noon, and the festivities at 3pm until extremely late.come early! the gala celebration kicks with a 400 string chorus of african warriors performing a song of tribute.

1- Vulnavian hospitality hall
featuring the concubines, free rum, and generally being the capital of swag. also there are arts and crafts demonstrations, and price listings for our goods with sales people ready to assist you with your order, be it retail or wholesale. loads of rum with special commemorative labels. a good place to pick up souvenirs.this hall will be home of Rodrigo, the singing clacker. there are several cages featuring exotic vulnavian wildlife.
2- victory hall
proudly displaying the spoils of war, with several displays about the vileness of the enemy. home of the war fundraiser auctions of war spoils, vulnavian items (including a diego bachelor auction), local merchant donations, and whatever else reasonable we can get our grubby mitts on, all major businesses, and houses have been asked to contribute to the cause. adjoins the hall of games
3- concert hall
a rotating schedule of bands including Diego's own Vulnavian all-stars, and a superlative band from his shadow as well as marquee local acts
4- entertainments hall
like the concert hall only with a more diverse array of performances
5-hall of games
charitable gambling, gentleman's lounge, and beer garden adjoining victory hall. entertainments provided by the street of silks merchant association. no minors admitted
6- main square
family fun featuring a vast array of carnival styled games all revolving around the destruction of chaosites. street performers, and select local food, craft, and merchandise booths

Posted by at 01:35 PM Comments (9)
October 18, 2002
Clacker ecology part 1

clacker ecology part 1
a 3.8 to 5.5 foot high crab that walks semi-erect. now picture it
with huge oversized spring-like legs design for
pouncing where the feet on a human would be.

theprimary arms have large plates on them with manipulatory limbs on the tips, a second lower manipulatory limb equally plated comes out at the elbow. the plating between the two manipulatory limbs on the inside becomes sharp, and pincher like. the 2 other sets of secondary limbs are sharp, and pointed
used mostly in scuttling and digging as well as grasping prey. the front of the creatures top to bottom the head and sensory organs are largely under the outcropping of the top shell plating. the mouth has terrible fangs,
and shark like teeth. a small series of retractable spike-like spines can
further impale the prey, or be placed in the sand to sense vibrations.
the most thinly coated area on the stomach are 2 holes that cover tubes that lead to the stomach, and can squirt digestive acid out to help in feeding,
predigesting the food in the manner of a spider. their coloring ranges from reds and oranges in the younger grabs to grays and browns in the older, some have been blessed with a rock-like speckled caprice


they are called clackers, because their name in their language is basically unpronounceable, and they are earnest and chatty creatures. they sound like happy typewriters with whistles where the carriage return would be. their language is so intellectually and physiologically different from others that using supernatural translation successfully to any great degree is very rare, most people can learn 1 to 3 dozen basic phrases that suffice for most needs, but should expect periodic misunderstandings. to have a fuller range of communications diego had developed specialized octarinas, rattles, and other items to aid in communication. to have full command of the language it would take an altered voice box, and considerable learning.

their culture is somewhat fatalistic, They were originally part of a rigid caste system that involved larger darker members of their own race that lived in deeper waters. e they don't really have a problem with the occasional individual that is honored in sacrifice to the stomach of the great sorcerer. (because of his general kindness and shape shifting combat form they refer to diego as the great sorcerer.) they love to have him bless their eggs. they practice cannibalism on members of their own race who violate extreme taboos, and even they admit they are divinely tasty.

the primary advantages of them as troops are their rapid replishment cycle, their leap, and camouflage ability, looking like rocks, but not that tough against fire arms, or chaos. the primary advantage is their portability. because of problems with scarcity on their native shadow, they can place themselves in hibernation-like dormant state, compacting into their shells for up to 2 months, so you can stock them up in small spaces readily.

personality wise they are eager and earnest to a fault when treated with modest amount of respect.

Posted by at 07:01 AM Comments (0)
October 06, 2002
Diego journal session 16

Dear professor Morwell,
I regret my hasty departure, and hope that you have found the hospitality of our island a worthy respite from the busy halls of the institute. I also hope you have found my work, on the use of anemone enzymes in the treatment of the criminally insane, useful in your own good work. I suspect it might be of use where I am now.
However my journey has not been in vain. I am proud to report I have a new therapy, that should enable your lovely daughter, Sally, to walk again. I cannot go into the details now, lest you think me confined to bedlam, or the yellow man's opium den.
I can say that the numerous allegations of my bastardy provided by the enemies of freedom have proven to be true, causing me to ask for your advice as a celebrated expert in the field of abnormal psychiatry.

(note: the following is edited yet far less inhibited version of the actual correspondence text )

I recently committed to a military action, I felt I had no choice to spite the odds. without going into too much detail, we needed to take out specialized troops or let their continued use erode the possibility of a greater victory ahead.

I had planned on using Jacob's insanity towards constructive ends, but a shocking stream of girlish whining sputtered out of his mouth. I can only surmise his vigor for combat extends largely to the defenseless. He even proposes making a deal with the enemy that raped a family member-I prescribe years of aggressive therapy.

Reese ran back to his hole like a pig needing of a truffle
Flora failed, in what I suspect, will be her last chance to redeem herself with me.
to spite having the manners of an ill-breed goat, Torriana really came through, and she does understand the value of family. I now suspect that, possibly once in her life, she even exhausted the patience of her simpleton father enough to get that slender portion of discipline, that she so desperately needed. She may now call upon my aid, and enjoy my custom. Dara proved herself to have at least a nominal trust worthiness coupled with considerable worth to spite her dubious heritage. she earned herself a party invitation. Fineas is a slightly more complex story. to spite his lackluster commitment of troops he is a major reason for our success, so he has earned a reprieve from being held accountable for his bogus definitions of effectiveness, and I stand in his debt. it is a debt I find myself eager to absolve.

As for the contributions of Rebma, my sister, and the lovely Queen Moire...
all these relationships seemed to have weathered typhoon Jacob, and are the stronger for the testing. I tested to see if they actually wanted a good relationship by informing my sister of my dissatisfaction about being used as a political pawn. The information seemed to transfer from daughter to mother quickly, and I strongly suspect it was behind Moire's ready cooperation with my plans. I also made it clear that I will not tolerate any thing that will come between my sister, and I . Today I can say that things look very bright underwater, as well as appealingly underdressed.

As to evaluating the battle
the ultimate effectiveness of our efforts will be seen in the months ahead, some accounts of the fatality ratio could go as high as 120 to 1 depending on how you count razor beaks. I lost a regrettable 100 warriors, a trivial amount of 600 clackers. they lost most of the initial wave of beastmen, some standard troops, and 3 or 4 leaders. we could have ruled the day with the help of those abscent, and the use of our available troops, but people seemed to have a misconception that it was not worth committing troops to hold a worthless resource, but the battle was about killing the enemy more then holding land. if i was concerned about holding the property I wouldn't have had my men urinate in areas of the palace we were not using to eliminate the beastmen's superior sense of smell. It was a victory in relation to the previous battle in terms of damaging the leadership. it was a medium victory in terms of overall results. It was highly mixed in comparison to what could have been. I cannot trust noblese oblige or righteousness to motivate my family into action. I must become invaluable to their endeavors, and they have little knowledge of how I will define that. If I can consolidate these early leads, I can hope to be wearing Duke Gryphon's guts for garters within a year.

The irony that I will be the primary instrument of vengence for a woman a have nothing but contempt for is not lost on me.

(now back to the actual text of the letter)

enclosed are documents that will enable you to take my personal plane to Cairo, there our man should arrange for your trip to London, then back New York. while in new york if you could please drop off the enclosed parcel to our offices, and deliver the adjoining letter to our respected colleague, Clark up on the 86th floor. then if you could return with the package he will give you, and your daughter to our island to begin her treatments promptly as possible.

your friend and fellow man of science-
Diego
july 3rd 1938

Posted by at 05:21 PM Comments (3)
September 29, 2002
Diego's journal Session 15

(I call shotgun, I want first turn next time...)
"I am here to cleanse myself by bathing in the blood of our enemies, not to emulate the tactics by which they so lavishly deserve to die."

dearest jessica,
after 300 years, I have my first gray hairs, and it only took amber two weeks.

It seems like every few days here I have a previously harmless word echoing around my mind cutting the compacity for coherant thought like a teaming school of malignant razor blades in a maelstrom. given a few years, the intrigue, treachery, skullduggery, and insanity of this place will render the entire dictionary abhorrent to me.

last week the word was "advisor", in relation to my medical treatment of a family member, this time agony,and despair teamed up for a two for one sale, providing me with the words "effective". and "failure".

"effective" is a mortifying quote from my cousin Fineas. It refers to the fact that he feels my cousin jacob impaling thousands of his own troops on stakes, then putting their souls in jars is an "effective" tactic, and without legal sanction, no less! I keep hearing it echo.. effective .. effective .. effective. This situation is obviously horrifying beyond words, to have the kin I had hoped to trust most have blackened their souls with such utter moral turpitude. Now the man who risked going to war with a vastly stronger nation over the liberation of slave ships is now faced with a vastly more "effective" method of enslavement. I believe we will come to victory in this battle upon the shoulders of infinite free men understanding the cost of failure, and the exuberant joy of our righteousness. it will not come from the ritualized mechanized harvesting of hopes, and dreams, crammed by the thousands into glass jars.

the mistake behind the word "failure", is one I hope never to repeat. made all the worse because I coined it in reference to myself. in chasing a chaosite bitch (and the spawn of flora, no less! a.k.a. zero chance for redemption ), Jacob brought Morwyn in to help when things got complicated. I had been hoping for a chance to prove myself to my sister, and I failed. the most troubling aspect is I don't entirely know why i Iet her down. I was exhausted, completely agape at the situation, and held her would be assailant as a friend. maybe it was just too many abstract variables to calculate, like my Babage machine, when I load it with too many cards, so it can keep up with me. I just pray my confounded hesitation didn't cost me the affections, and or respect of my only living sibling.

So I have had more then enough palor injected into my life, by one cousin for this century. Then I keep thinking that it is no accident he is named after my son. He needs my guidence desparately. My instincts tell me his nature remains good. It is perhaps to patronizing, and an unjustified image I have of his life as a baby, but I can't shake picturing him growing up in an old diaper, left alone with a large branch while he fights off snakes. I suspect some vile cancerous imp is whispering ideas in his ear. he was not provided a background in moral principles, but nor should he be receiving his education in the blackest of morality either. I will discuss his development with Gerard. Perhaps if I start him off on the immortal wisdom of Thomas Paine, Erasmus, or maybe Voltaire...hmmmm. Maybe I could find him a fine church goin' woman..hmmmmmm

fineas, and the coronation are too much to think about right now.

yours ever lovingly, and still alive from perdition-
D

Posted by at 04:32 AM Comments (0)
September 15, 2002
Diego's inventions

the line
a series of thick engraved wooden and metal tiles, roughly 2.5 times the size of playing cards, that are linked together in a line by metal rings. The function of the line is to create a wall that optically distorts the locations of whatever is behind it, randomly moving it in one or two of the eight compass directions from 2 to 8 feet (generally the larger the item the greater the distortion).As a side effect of the enchantment people that would have appeared in front of the line do not appear at all (roughly 10-30 percent). it is usefull in making the individual targeting of leaders, and seige instruments difficult, and elmininating accurate remote troop estimation. it is not effective vs. randomized massed fire, nor lateral, arial or flanking troops. it is generally to be used protect ranged troops. the side of the tiles are slotted to allow the linking with a second series of tiles that is designed to damage or delay the first line of attackers in a caltrop like method after they have deactivated the first enchantment via a breach. it is also highly effective when placed in between troops and small defensive pits and traps, as it would mask their location as well.

mojo cologne
alchemically treated mojo-form phermones give the wearer (Diego) a +2 (holistic specialization? psyche specialization?) when trying to indulge in well inclined members of the fairer gender +1 to other individuals

the slippery maiden: Diego's favorite chaosian
hospitality device

The slippery maiden is a specialized type of iron maiden designed for the interogation of shapeshifters. many of the stake locations are manipulatable via
handles from the outside, so it is impossible to keep shifting consistantly to avoid pain. also feature are a series of engraved anti-magic wards, a series of
magnets in the casing that tend to create a magnetic field that disorients shapeshifters, the compacity to carry a discomforting electrical current, an input for scalding steam that can cause pain, and seal wounds, a capped insertion point for the insertion of interogation creatures and vermin as well as gruel.
there is also a secret release hatch diego has concealed in case the item is ever captured by chaosians.

shape shifter rounds
special oversize crossbow qaurrels with a hollow center filled with a hard headed parasite that will move around inside a shapeshifter, creating little short term damage, but a serious distraction as they try and expell it due to it'd mobility

Posted by at 12:26 PM Comments (0)
Diego journal session 14

Today we had our first combined combat action as the new generation here, and I am giving our actions a mixed review.
to spite some clever field action, as well as manuvering, but there was no clear advance contingency planning.I lost too many good people. It is partly my fault, I was too eager to validate myself, too blood thirsty, and dealing with an oversupply of pent up emotions to establish my plan of action in the usual fashion. I paid a price, most of my people had been with me fifty years, most had family. the order of the day is to stabilize the situation at hand, plan my entrance into society here, let out enough steam to scald 3 city blocks, then establish the criteria for the commitment of troops, and methods for more effective action. I am henceforth likely to refuse the piecemeal commitment of my troops. I will celebrate this victory as part of my coronation gala, but for me it will be hollow.
Partially to account for my frustration is the arrogance of the Rebma doctors. they wish to retain me as an "advisor" n the treatment of my aunt Lewella. I would threaten them with the horrible fate happened the last time some one kept me from one of my patients, but I realized that no one has been the idiotic in the two and a half centuries I have been a doctor. They don't know that I am close to completing what I suspect will be a nearly instant and enduring cure for her with just a little more practice.
I suspect I will need to acquire some troops to aid in our holding of this new conquest, and I need to return to the hidden city of Mapungubwe, return the heads of the fallen warriors, and see what I can resources I can gather using our hundreds of years of friendship, some recently discovered incentives, and my title as an honorary prince.

Posted by at 09:02 AM Comments (8)
September 01, 2002
Diego's journal session 13

Dear jessica-
I feel like Harry Houdini. I feel like I have been bound and dropped headlong into a shark tank, naked . everyone here seems to be distrusting, looking for an angle, and questioning your motivations. If they can't learn to understand the real importance of family, maybe the enemy has already won.

To simplify things, a large degree of this difficult work atmosphere comes from poor parenting, the first generation was awful, the second generation clueless, and now it is up to us, the improvised last hope for this legacy, and consequently, most life as we know it. So far I seem to be the only one who has had a decent upbringing, not to mention a wonderful family of my own. I have no idea what to do here. it isn't like I can take them over my knee, or hire an endless line of wet nurses stretching into infinity to fill the void. My family here is amazingly powerful, but I suspect if someone could find the obscure center of their pain, they would shatter like glass. It brings to mind Citizen Kane, in the end they will all cry out for their individual "Rosebuds". (that reminds me, after his visit to the island, I sent Mr. Welles some of our spicy clacker sausage, he wrote back, after devouring it, and asked for more. if he keeps eating our rich sausage that rapidly, even my treatments will not be able to save him). it is easier to understand why they act and organize like the keystone cops with ego problems.
My main concern in this area relates to my sister. I have not been as happy since our boys were born, as when I saw her. An amazing flower has grown up in the trail of slime left across time by my biological father. We are both sailors. She seems to be having a hard time getting used to the new situation, having grown up in the shark tank, but I have no intention of letting the local hereditary insanity affect our relationship. If it requires me surgically implanting the fact that she can count on her brother next to her spine, I've got the scalpel ready! I want to pummel a man who gets too fresh with her. I want to perform all the sacred atagonistic rituals of an older sibling, that my brothers did to me. I want to cheer for her team. I don't want to be alone ever again. It was worth finding out that the world is more insane then I ever imagined, to have her watch as I laid the flowers on our son's grave in honor of his birthday
god, am I tired
Love always - D

Posted by at 11:58 PM Comments (1)
August 18, 2002
Diego journal session 12

Dearest Jesse-
This past week has reminded me that I am not made of the same material as father's bronze statue by the shore, but of the same faithless flesh and bone that I have been up to my elbows in daily, more then any masochistic fish-monger or butcher.

I've learned more about this underwater city, called Rebma, they have a great deal of magic. they also seem to enjoy indulging themselves, and being virtually naked, as if sodom was cast into the sea, and just continued it's ways to spite the slight. An Aqua-Sodom, if you will. While my initial favorable impressions have been diminished, but even this revised evaluation might be glib.

The queen here also seems to have enamored enough of my sperm donor, some one called Corwin, to give me a half sister (more on her later), and try a failed rescue attempt for him. I find the queen, Moire, an enchanting personality, and it was that that kept me from wretching during her talking of the "man".
All I will say is that his wisdom in child rearing is only equalled by his skill in avoiding incarceration when he wasn't traveling across shadow destroying lives as the johnny appleseed of insemination. My sister never met "dad" either. Moire wants us to help bring him out of the hands of chaos, but I am not at all sure that I am prepared to do that
I was able to use ol' Mojo, that writhing mass of tentacles, tubules, tendrills, glands, and gas bladders, that offered us those many nights of wedded bliss, to aid in the restoration of the queen's sister, Llewella, a extracted former prisoner of chaos. She had locked out her mind from external tampering, and we were able to use a combination of my abilities, and her magic to pull it off. I made some special prothestic limbs for llewelas missing limbs that were take away from her during her captivity, pretty proud of the design actually. I am also slightly awed by the tenacity of my patient and look forward to aiding in her recovery.

I didn't have time to have an exchange with my cousins (for that matter even indulge in a smoke) save Fineas, I was eager to talk with him to see if there was a possible connection there, he is still well bred ,and pragmatic, but he seems to be a little too accustomed to paranoia, and intrigue, I how this hasn't degenerated his values structure to a constant stream of social darwinist arguments where he always places himself on the top of the pile. We discussed the ongoing saga of my aunt flora, the undulating trollop, I suspect that she was tampered with in ways the people here cannot detect during her time in the hands of the enemy, my misplaced trust in her may prove doubly damning if this is the case.

I also had the chance to spar with the local guard, who are all very good, while it wasn't as fun as my own people it wasn't bad, I think I will bring them some of our rum. they also have a shapeshifter on staff who is agreeable enough. I really need to return home to make sure nothing has been tampered with, and get a change of clothing. I should arrive just in time to commemorate what would have been our boys golden 16th birthday.

I made breif contact with my half sister, Morwyn, and she was on a boat far away from amber. this tells we will likely have a good deal in common, and that she has the good sense to get away from castle sanitarium. It might be real family after all these years.. I can't tell you how good that feels

love always-d

Posted by at 10:36 PM Comments (0)
August 05, 2002
Diego session 11

(Authors note: During the years since the death of his spouse, the scant few personal, non-scientific entries in Diego's journals have been written to his deceased wife, American Heiress, and former silent film star.. Jessica Mayer.)

Dearest Jessica,

Last night, for the first time in a decade, I felt genuinely alive. All I can try to relate to you is the sensation like a pleasant version of ghost-limb syndrome, when a person who has lost a limb swears they still feel it, as if I had a part of me long-lost brought back, only to be taken away in the matter of hours. God, I miss you.

It felt good to be near a woman after all this time. It was affirming to dine, drink, and dance, and more importantly to be able to trust. It has been so long.

After a supper on our yacht, she revealed to me that she is my Aunt, called Flora, and that I am a bastard and no tribute to the great man I had known as my father. This trollop has no idea the pain she has caused, throwing the septic materials of lies and deception on a wound that may never heal after your all-too-hasty departure from me. Later, I discovered that she had been a captive of Chaos; I suspect her time spent with their foulness was all too short if she continues to practice their tactics with her own family. There will be more on this.

I must unfortunately suspect that their claims on my lineage appear to be valid, after having been brought into the viper's nest that is my challenging new heritage. The king of the madhouse and my new found Uncle, is a man called Gerard; huge, and the strongest man I have ever meet - my suspicion was that a man of his size, strength, and sub-standard mental functioning could only fully satisfy his potent reprodcutive urges in the arms of a silverback gorilla, but society at large, and I, have had no such luck.

To my mind the greatest thing one can do to pay back society for your existence is to raise a courteous child, and Gerard was clearly incapable of doing that. Even when we lived in New York, the land of brats, was there never such a brat. My jaw dropped at the way his daughter conducted herself.

I am trying to make this best of this situation, I have managed to help protect the family estate from neuro-toxin secreting vermin and begun the process of helping yet another liberated prisoner of Chaos recover from a coma and restore her limbs in a strange underwater city adjoining the main estate. Being underwater in the process of an altruistic act makes me feel doubly clean, and I need it.

There are a couple of bright spots, however. I met a man named Jacob (just like our boy) who seems to be doing his best to make things out like myself, and another cousin, a gentleman name Fineas who strikes me as a well-bred pragmatist, so at least we will have something to talk about. As well, the current Queen of the underwater city of Rebma seems very reasonable and genuinely concerned for her sister, the second victim of chaos - it is a qaulity all to rare here, it seems.

I keep thinking of sitting on the beach reading "Alice in Wonderland" to our boys, and how it seems like Lewis Carrol wrote this new universe while he was having morphine withdrawl, or perhaps looking behind the curtain to see the great Wizard of Oz is a better analogy. The whole of creation is at war, going to hell on a bus, and the only thing that is saving us is the fact that the driver lacks the ability to read a map. For the time being it is "when in rome...."

No, change that to... "when in the sanitarium, pretend your Napoleon".

Love,
D

Posted by at 04:52 PM Comments (4)
Home