Carl's Amber Invitational...

I was recently invited to a email Amber game. I am very excited. I really enjoyed the Amber novels and I am looking forward to another opportunity to be a player rather than a GM. I am very interested in this game, I think it will be terribly entertaining. I will be playing Kef and will be posting a character log here for the game as I am doing for Lydin.

I am curious how the Amberite backstabbing will play out. About a year ago I tried to set up a competitive play by post game that died a horrible death when I realized how much work the whole thing would be**. In that game I stole borrowed a technique form Rob Donohue and Fred Hicks. Each character owed another character for something that happened before play started, each character had a secret, each character knew someone else's secret, each character secretly supported another character, and each character secretly despised another character.

**This game is the one that I am currently using as a writing exercise right here - Mystanamyr's Cat. I am currently working on "Act 1 Scene 4: Into the Market" but I am having difficulty getting the story moving.


Pandarus - Voices of the Battle

My time in captivity has ripped at my psyche and once again the voices have resurfaced, voices that I had long ago suppressed.

This time it is different though, at first the voices were there as a distraction, a way to seperate me from the terrible torture that my Orc captor would visit upon my body. When the prison barge started to sink and the dangers of the moment bore down on me, the voices were gone.

Everything is such a blur during the escape, the swim to shore and arrival in town. But one thing sticks with me, is that I am now part of a group of fellow prisoners united in a common goal to seek vengeance on our captors.

We spent the next night in an allies house (a fletcher by trade), but his true allegiance is unclear to me. The night was filled with the sounds of screams from outside and within, culminating with Hawber and Gworeth attacking one another, and Gworeth almost paying the ultimate price (I am wondering if all of this is real, or new torture methods are attacking my mind).

After a restless and fear wrought night, morning blissfully arrives and we make or way across the river to investigate the strange happenings in the forest at the behest of our ally. It is here where we encounter creatures that seem to be dead, but are clearly attacking us and we must fight to save our very lives. Quickly I strike at the nearest, connecting with it and causing it to fall, at which point laughter rings in my ears......not the joyous laughter of companions, but the sinister laugh of my demons. The demons are goading me, challenging me to look at my so called allies and see the way they cower in fear at the first sign of combat, but I am too busy to do their bidding as another creature has taken the place as the first and I am once again striking out. The battle seems to end quickly, although from the appearance of others and the carnage it must have been fierce. With my weapons still and a threat no longer engaged, the demons once again go silent.

Following this battle I am still shaken and don't recall what transpired next, but I find myself at the edge of the woods witnessing an unlikely meeting. Humans and the creatures (I must ask the fletcher what they are) in a discussion across the field, then the humans leave, after throwing a prisoner to the creatures. Clearly with the our battle weary members, the two large forces that seem to be working together and our mission to observe and report back, it is time to leave. We make for the bridge, weapons at the ready as noises from the trees approach, but nothing happens and we safely make it across the bridge. Before my blood cools from its adrenaline induced boil, the demons begin to talk....taunting me to cut the ropes of the bridge, while some of my companions are still crossing.....but upon reaching the other end and as the noise from the trees subsides the demons go quite. Once the party has all arrived safely across the bridge, Hawber wants to do what my demons demanded of me....almost as if they were in his head to. Gworeth and I do manage to convince him not to cut the bridge, as none of us really wants to go swimming again anytime soon, and everyone gets a feeling that we will be crossing the river again tomorrow.

Now we must go back to the fletcher and hope that he will provide us shelter for the night, and that our report will enlighten him so that he may give some more information that we vitally require.....our very lives and vengeance may depend on it.


Lydin's Story Part 2

continued from Lydin's Story Part 1

Day 68
After reaching the town we search for the fletcher. He welcomes us into his home and provides food for my new charge.

We gain important information from him and are granted housing for the night. Strange things happen during the night. Several time during the night we hear screams and see lights. Yue, Tugwyn and Gworeth leave to investigate.

Near morning Gworeth is attacked by Hawber. I heal both and warn them that we must work together to survive, especially in untamed towns like this one.

We leave the fletcher and strike out into the forest. This forest is not a happy place. The undergrowth is harsh, game is scarce. Someone has over hunted to allow a live and vibrant place to reach this point. We reach a rope bridge and cross the river. The far side of the river is where our enemy is massing his troops.

We see many many tracks. The path we are on is used by a great number of people. We follow the path as far as we dare. Yue is attacked from the east side of the path. We look but can not find a source for the attack. We move on but are more cautious.

As dusk approaches I take Screech to find a suitable place to camp. Deadfall is everywhere, but wee need a place where we can safely light a fire. A good stone to defend with would not hurt either. No more than 50 paces from the path I hear a group moving towards me. Screech scents them and is fearful of the scent. I slowly back towards the path and safety trying to see what is stalking us. Whatever it is, it is not natural to these woods. This may be the force that has choked the life out of the forest.

I back onto the path just in front of my enemy. Gworeth and Pandarus have heard the foes approach and have drawn weapons and are ready. Behind me they come out of the woods. They are dead but they move. My masters have taught me of the foul creatures but I have not seen them before.

As they move towards me I think of what my masters have taught me. I have no skill against this type of foe. They move towards me and I am scared. I see Pandarus slash at one of these ugly forms and it falls to the ground. Perhaps if I unleash the forest to trap these abominations I can help the forest kill these monsters. Tugwyn moves past me, he seems to be happy to see these things. He makes some gestures and a dark colored blast takes a creature right in front of me. Part of the creature falls to the forest floor, but it still sinks dirty claws into my arm. I try to keep from retching.

Gworeth and Yue have engaged another group. I slash at this creature in front of me. I falls to the forest floor. I try to put myself between These foul things and Screech. Pandarus slashed through another creature. Hawber is beside me. After attacking Gworeth last night I am unsure if he is there to help us until he crushes the beast that is trying to reach Tugwyn. Tugwyn launches another spell that carves a gaping hole into another of the creatures.

After that each moment blurs into the next. Another of these creatures scores a deep scratch across my chest. Thankfully these creatures are defeated. I would like to burn them, to erase there presence from the world, but it would be too dangerous in this forest. We can not stay here. We start to make our way back to the town. We see a group of men in the distance. They seem to be talking with a group of these monsters we have defeated. One of the men appears to be a prisoner, he wears a sun sigil. I know I should recognize the sigil but I can not seem to recall why. These creatures boil my blood I want to trap them, to cut into them, to use my hands, my teeth, to kill these men that will talk with these monsters.

The men leave on of their own to be attacked by the beasts. The screams, the screams are maddening. We move off to the bridge. We hear the pursuit getting closer. We clear the bridge and watch waiting for these horrible creatures to break through the trees and start to cross the swinging ropes. Hawber is ready to cut the bridge, Pandarus and Gworeth try to stop him. Long moments pass as we wait and watch the far shore. No enemy appears.

We retreat to the town hopefully the fletcher will grant us house guest again this night.

Lydin's Story Part 1

Day 1
I am taken captive! I should have known better than to trust men who wear snakes as sigils.

Day 12

I am alone on the ship except for my cellmates. Yue, Tugwyn, Gworeth and myself shared a small, smelly, room. At times I would grow so tired of that room and of those people, I would wish that the smelly orc and his guards would take me into the torture room. It was painful but it reminded me that the world was still there, that if I waited and took my chance I might still breath free under the trees before I die.

I was not the first taken, Yue and Tugwyn were already in the room when I joined them. Gworeth joined shortly afterwards.

Day 25
I keep sane by counting the hours until I can go an be with the animals again. Time is strange in this room but I think they let me out once a day to care for them. My friend Scratch is up top, she is not doing well. I fear she will die. Some of the guards have been mistreating the mounts. I am doing my best to help them recover.

Day 45
It had been a long time since I have seen the forest.

Day 65
This evening we plotted an escape.

I would hide behind the door. Once that rotten orc entered I would slam shut the door and Yue, Gworeth would attack the bastard while I secured the door. We hoped to kill him and use his weapons on the guards that would surely come to save him.

Day 66
It did not go as planned. After weeks of the same pattern the guards entered the room! Yue and I shared a long look and both bolted out of our prison. We knew we had but one chance. If we could just kill the orc we might have a fighting chance against his guards. Months of being malnourished and torture did us in. Unfortunately, I did not have the strength left to harm the orc. I managed only to burn myself quite badly. Yue made crude attempts but he too failed to score the kill we needed. We had hoped that Gworeth and Tugwyn would be able to win free, but the guards closed the door to the cell separating us.

In the end we managed only to make the wraith of our captures to fall on us rather than our comrades.

Day 67
I awoke to a horrible sound and the floor beneath me shuddered and slid me across the room. Tugwyn tried the door and it was open! A chance for freedom! In our rush to escape we all fell over ourselves as we attempted to exit the room. Once we climbed up onto the top floor we saw immediately that the ship was sinking very quickly.

I rushed to save as many animals as I could. Scratch was already in the water, I play she makes it to shore. One of my dogs is dead, the others are weakened by the crash. Many of the other animals are injured. I doubt I will save many, but I free those I can.

Many of the animals can not make the leap into the water, few of those will make the shore. I hope they have the strength to make the swim. I hope I do. Gworeth and Yue have returned they have not been able to locate our 'friend' the orc. Tugwyn is still in the boat looking for our gear. We can not wait for long we too must make a try for shore. Tugwyn returns empty handed.

We all leave the boat together. I try to help the animals along the way but I am too slow, too tired, I have not recovered from the escape attempt. I do not know how but I make it to shore. I suspect Gworeth pulled me the last half mile. Yue and Gworeth seem to have made the trek without as much difficulty as myself and Tugwyn. His frail form is motionless on the beach. I crawl around looking for signs of Scratch.

If I have lost her I am lost.

I finally find her trail. She is hurt, the trail is bloody. I follow it into a thicket. I can not find her, I have failed her. Finally I stumble upon her, I can feel her fur, now we are whole again. I am too late! Scratch is dead! I can not look at life the same way, how could I have let this happen. She looks whole but the blood trail leads away.

Retching I leave my friend and follow the blood trail. Scratch has done what I could not. I could not save her, but she saved her cub. I did not even notice she was carrying a litter. I will care for him better than I cared for his mother. Screech, I will call him as he is already exercising his lungs.

When I return a group of men riding well fed animals meets us on the beach. Our number has grown by two. Hawber and Pandarus were also captives on that boat. The men talk to us about our enemy. They wish us to assist in revenging their lord on the man who killed Scratch. I agree to this mission.

Alas my dogs did not make the swim successfully. I see signs that some of the other animals made it. Perhaps later we can track some of them and recover what we can.

We move on to a large town to the north. We must find the Fletcher who will assist us further. This is badly used land. It is colder than I am used to and has been over farmed and grazed. There is no game to hunt, no roots for the pot or berries for health and good cheer.

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