September 5, 2006

How the last chief of the Omaha died.

As has been mentioned previously, Hannah Le Corbeau in House of Cards is based primarily off of Dr. Susan La Flesche, the daughter of Joseph La Flesche, the last Principle Chief of the Omaha Tribe. Her father is based off of Joseph, of course, because he is an endlessly fascinating man.

The Omaha believe in the power of the divine. The Great Spirit. God. Wakon'da. They also believe in the power of holy artifacts. The sacred pipes, niniba waqube, the peace pipes, niniba waxube, the sacred white buffalo hide, Tethon'ha, and in the center, the sacred pole they call Umon'hon'ti, the Real Omaha.

The white men who came believed in these things too, enough to make the practice of magic with them illegal, or any practice of native magic or healing.

Yet, in 1888, the Omaha still had all these items. The Omaha is a tribe of clans and sub-clans, a complex social system. Each clan has a purpose, and within these clans the purpose is refined. Joseph was the "adopted eldest son" of Big Elk, the former Principle Chief, of the Hon'ga, or Leader Clan. By 1888, he had been the Principle Chief for a long time, and the leader of a political split within the tribe between the traditionalists and the progressives. He thought the only way the tribe was going to survive was through assimilation, and he followed that path with his own family, sending many of his children away to schools and eventually converting to Christianity and giving up his a wife or two, although whether he actually gave them up seems up for debate. There is reference to Francis, Joseph's son, as a young man having to face his mother's repudiation, but nothing from him about it.

By 1888 though, the government had prohibited Buffalo hunts. Many of the religious items and rituals were tied to the hunt, and required items from the hunt. (In order to achieve the hundred great acts to become a member of the Night Blessed Society, which one must be to become a chief, one of the quests requires the gathering of the items for Umon'hon'ti.) Francis was then working with Alice Fletcher, an ethnographer while at the same time a campaigner for assimilation, to record the history of the tribe.

Yellow Smoke was a Chief in his own right, and of the clan that had the care of Umon'hon'ti, the Hun'ga Clan. Francis approached Yellow Smoke. Some people believe he then stole the sacred pole from the tribe. Some people (a minority, even today) believe he convinced Yellow Smoke to give it to him, to take for safe keeping in the white man's brick house (the Peabody Museum). The record we have comes mostly from Francis and Alice's points of view. According to them, the situation was thus: Yellow Smoke was the last member of his line to care for the sacred pole, and since the rituals could no longer be performed, the pole was to be buried with him when he died.

This didn't sit well with Francis, who wanted it preserved. He also wanted the rituals associated with it preserved. He *may* have convinced Yellow Smoke to give him the care of the pole, but Yellow Smoke wouldn't tell him the rituals. It was sacrilege, you see, and the price for revealing them was death.

Joseph convinced Yellow Smoke to come tell him. He convinced Yellow Smoke to allow Francis and Alice to be present at the telling.

In 1888, to get the rituals from Yellow Smoke, Joseph swore he'd take the consequences on himself. Alice says, "The old man had consented to speak but not without misgivings until his formal principal chief said that he would 'cheerfully accept for himself any penalty that might follow the revealing of these sacred traditions,' an act formerly held to be a profanation and punishable by the supernatural."

And so it was done. You can read about it today, in Alice's own words, and Francis's too.

In 1989, the Omaha got Umon'hon'ti and Tethon'ha back from the Peabody Museum. Today, the rituals can happen again. Umon'hon'ti is the center, and he is back with the tribe.

Francis seemed frustrated in his letters after his father's death, especially this one to Professor Putnam at the Peabody, from December 3, 1888.

My dear Professor,

Your note with check for fifty dollars through Miss Smith is received. I write this only to acknowledge and send you my thanks for the same, as no doubt Miss Fletcher has written you how I secured the sacred pole, idol, or whatever name it can be given, and why we did not send it to the Museum and kept it out there. The question of securing the full ritual and songs of that sacred article has become a serious and puzzling one since the death of my father shortly after the passage of that relic out of the tribe.

The people are yet in the shackles of superstition and it will be hard to make them believe that my father's death was in no way the result of the taking away of the pole. Father once met with an accident which crippled him for the rest of his life. It happened soon after he refused to regard certain of the ceremonies connected with this very article and Indians said that it was from his disrespect for the sacred pole. But still there may be some way of getting a few of the songs at hand. Of these we have two.

Francis La Flesche.

Alice explains it a bit better in 1911. Her description makes me believe there was a penalty to be paid.

The scene in that little room where sat the four actors in this human drama was solemn, as at the obsequies of a past once so full of human activity and hope. The fear inspired by the Pole was strengthened in its passing away, for by a singular coincidence the touch of fatal disease fell upon Joseph La Flesche almost at the close of this interview, which lasted three days, and in a fortnight he lay dead in the very room in which had been revealed the Sacred Legend connected with the Pole.

When Joseph died, his daughter Susan had just finished her final exams at medical school. She didn't get the telegram until 3 days before he died - she never got to say goodbye.

For gaming purposes, I gave Hannah enough trials without a dead father too. But I'll admit, this story fascinates me. I believe in Magic, of course.

Posted by Liz at 10:28 PM

May 6, 2006

Black for Black, Ill Met In Amber Ladies.


Posted by Liz at 9:28 PM

December 25, 2005

A Very Hannah Holiday

So for those of you who don't know, I play Hannah Le Corbeau in House of Cards, a PBEM set in the Amber universe using the Everway System. (Links on the sidebar for the curious.)

Hannah is modeled (loosely) off of Susan La Flesche. Dr. La Flesche was the first Native American doctor. She was a member of the Omaha tribe - her father was the Chief.

I've had a metric ton of Hannah-related wish-reading on my Amazon list for awhile now, and well over half of it showed up this holiday.

From my lovely GMs, I got "Susan La Flesche Picotte, M.D.: Omaha Indian Leader and Reformer" by Benson Tong. (My father also got me this book! So now I have 2 - I really need to start an ebay pile.)

From my Friend Paul, I got "The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples" by Tim Flannery. I've put off starting that one because it's not what I consider light reading and I want to be in the right mindset for it.

From my Daddy, the flood of books. I don't know what he did to get these books, some of which are out of print. Some of these very clearly are old library books sold off in library sales. As mentioned, he got me Susan's biography, because bless him, the concept of rechecking Amazon after Thanksgiving never occured. I need to go update over there now. He also picked me up a couple others I bought in early fall - "The Middle Five" and "Ke-ma-ha" by Francis La Flesche (Susan's brother).

But he still did very good and came through with 2 I haven't been able to find anywhere. Plus, "Ke-ma-ha" is a hardcover!

"Homeward The Arrow's Flight" by Marion Marsh Brown is what I'd call a fictionalized biography. It's Susan's life full of dialog. I think it's written for high schoolers. Just from flipping it open to the medical school years and reading dialogue with her and Frank, I know I'm going to enjoy it more than the biography, even though it's clearly far less factually accurate just due to the fact the author couldn't have known what Susan said or what she was thinking. Much less her siblings and parents etc.

"Blessing for a Long Time: The Sacred Pole of the Omaha Tribe" by Robin Ridington & Dennis Hastings (In'aska) is the story of the Sacred Pole of the Omaha and how it was retrieved by the tribe from the Smithsonian, where Francis La Flesche had placed it. The back cover reads "[the authors] ingeniously adopt the conventions of Omaha oral narratives to tell the story and convey the significance.... This unique blend of Omaha poetics, ethnography, and ethnohistory is a significant contribution to our understanding of the religious life of Native Americans.

In a funny aside, my father also tried to get me a book called, "Bright Eyes" which is a bio of Susan's sister. What we got was a romance novel of the same title by Catherine Anderson. My mom wants to read it when I'm done.

Posted by Liz at 8:21 PM

July 7, 2005

Chime - "We're Not Pirates"

This picture reminds me of The Swan, specifically because my Chime can be such a little snot. Just glanced at it today and thought it'd make a great crew picture. Picture credit to... I don't know... Sean? Jenn?


Posted by Liz at 3:49 PM

April 10, 2005

Mombasa Elephant Society

This was the view as Jeff and I left the April Meeting of the Mombasa Elephant Society last night. WOW, Dominos, Munchin or socializing... we had it all. Also, a beautiful sunset. It was nice to see everyone even if I only did the socializing part.


Posted by Liz at 5:27 PM

April 6, 2005

First ACUS Picture of 2005

The Syene ContingentSyeneContingent.JPG

Posted by Liz at 11:40 AM

March 25, 2005

Peer Pressure, It Works


Posted by Liz at 9:43 AM

March 24, 2005

Shopping For The Duchess

While Juliana understands budgets and stretching a dollar to make ends meet, she still demands quality. In this case, she'll have to settle for whatever comes in the mail, since we did not get to try it on and feel it, or see if it is lined, or its fit and so on.

But I have slapped down my $60 for the year, and if it sucks, everyone will pretend it's pretty, right?


Posted by Liz at 3:24 PM

March 18, 2005

I've Been Thinking...

About patterns and cycles and layers in gaming and in reality.

I can see and define many things, but many more are still a mystery to me.


Posted by Liz at 9:56 AM

March 16, 2005

Gettin' Me Some Lovin'


Posted by Liz at 8:23 AM

March 15, 2005

I Started Writing Hannah's Patternwalk Today

(image clearer via Croft!)

Posted by Liz at 6:02 PM

March 10, 2005

They Sing, They Dance, They Tour The Capital


Posted by Liz at 5:21 PM

January 16, 2005

Curious [HOC research thoughts]

So, I'm reading these two books:
Mythology of the American Nations by David M Jones and Brian L Molyneaux and
The Native American: The Indigenous People Of North American [A Compilation of Histories and Pictures] Edited by Colin Taylor, with William Sturtevant of the Smithsonian as the Technical Consultant.

I couldn't help myself, but to open them immediately and start searching for references to and information about the Omaha. The Omaha are the tribe I've based my HOC character out of. As far as I know they are one of the few (if not the only) tribes still in residence on their sacred land, even if it is a smaller chunk of that land than they started with.

There isn't much information about them in these books. I've found more online. Here is my crackpot theory on this, and part of the reason why once I started researching Dr. Susan La Flesche and her family, I *knew* I had to use her, and them, as my HOC proposal.

Theory: These were secretive people. And they had a game plan. Chief Iron Eye probably garnered more attention than he wanted by raising some spectacular children who made a difference. On the other hand, he raised spectacular children who made a difference - and they are still on some of thier land.

From what I've read, the game planned seemed to be: all the tribes around us fight, and are decimated. We've seen time and again it doesn't work. We will integrate, learn their rules, and be able to fight as their equals.

Girls - off to finishing school with you.
Son - off to law school with you. And again - go learn more.

Now *we'll* work for the Bureau. His son gets a position as a secretary to another lawyer there (I think, the way I'm reading it.) He's inside. The daughter who became a doctor becomes the Bureau's assigned (and paid, sometimes) doctor for the tribe. She's not quite inside - she's fighting the system yet to get what she needs - but in the mean time her people get better medical care than they were getting. The charismatic daughter translates at a jury trial (and helps formulate the strategy for defense, so far as I can tell) that has the court finally recognize Native Americans as people. She later speaks before Congress.

In the midst of all this, are 'conversions' to Christianity. Our doctor is lauded for her Christian beliefs. Her father the Chief 'converts' and agrees maybe he should give up his third wife, although I can find no evidence she ever left his home. Some of what I found says this conversion cost him his position in the tribe - but other things I've found indicates this simply isn't true - but that he was the last chief, and either the doctor daughter or the lawyer son was the recognized but perhaps not official chief after he died.

(Looks like nowadays the have a tribal 'president' with the same ole kind of council.)

The thing with native converstions to Christianity in this period were that Christianity doesn't really conflict overmuch with Native beliefs. In fact, they'd worked Jesus into their mythos at least 100 years past. It was just that missionaries freaked when they kept doing their own ceremonies - so those were done in private. We know they were still happening in that period, because the lawyer son was recording them on wax cylinders, against his father's will.

And why did the Chief object? I couldn't find anything concrete on that, only that people 'know' he did. Which leads me to my theory. Secrets. We get to know their secrets, their ceremonies, their ways, but they do not get to know ours.

But from what I'm reading, the tribe was down to 300 people, and Francis seemed to be afraid the music would be lost. He helped Alice Fletcher (an anthropologist who was studying the tribe's culture, and who later adopted Francis "as my son") learn about how music and Omaha culture are completely intertwined. Saving the music was more important to him than whatever his father's objection must have been.

So there is a CD from the library of Congress with Traditional Omaha music on it. There are numerous women's history sites that talk about 'the first native american woman doctor' and her life, and how she had treated every person in the tribe. And about Bright Eyes and how she was eulogized before Congress - how she she the first native american woman to speak before them - and about how she so charmed them. Francis lives on in the music he recorded, and his writing - he wrote a book about the Osages (not his tribe, you'll note, but another), a book about his years as part of a gang of young tribal men, and other works. But what you find about these people are more or less the facts.

There is a letter the doctor wrote to the Bureau. Marriages. Public appearances. Court records. School records. The doctor campaigned for temperance in her area, and for a while it was a dry county. [This was doubtless more than a simple medical objection, although because of the effect alcohol must have had on her people, certainly it could have just been that. But the Chief her father had anyone he caught drinking publically whipped, and this might have been an influence on her thinking.] It's hard to find the more personal things. Why did Alice adopt Frank, for example?

Anyway, as you can probably tell, they just facinate me. And perhaps make me a little crazy, because I'll never really know - but I can pretend.

Posted by Liz at 12:23 PM

October 11, 2004

Ninja K


That was some sweetness playing his Phillip against my Juliana. I'm cracking up feeling silly, but he's got the perfect dead serious look going.

Posted by Liz at 9:05 PM

September 28, 2004

I play Hannah in House of Cards

She's a native doctor. She draws my attention to things I didn't pay a lot of attention to before, like this:

Kerry cites figures showing that Native Americans are 770 percent more likely to die from alcoholism, 650 percent more likely to die from tuberculosis, 420 percent more likely to die from diabetes, and 52 percent more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza than the rest of the United States, including white and minority populations.

That's today. Today. Hannah was built to be operating around the 1890's-1910's or so. She and I are both horrified by those figures.

Posted by Liz at 8:56 PM

September 27, 2004

To Live and Die in Texorami

Jamie started talking, you see. Some say she talks too much, but hey, someone has to make up for that Ambrose.

So I'm Jamie "Blue" Diamond, "Lucky" Jack's little sister. I run a riverboat casino he won for me in a card game - I call it My Brother's Keeper. I tried to hire some nutman with a shaved head (Dagger) to work my security for the Big Game which I was determined to have on my boat, and Mean Mitch McGee, but Mitch got very drunk all the time, and showed up at the Saloon holding a towel around him with one hand and a gun in the other. I was a little drunk myself by then (only being the type of girl who gets drunk every once in awhile but then kinda badly) so I covered my eyes, and only tried to peak a little. That sweet little bartender that don't talk none, Ambrose, he blocked my view though, so I didn't get to see a thing. And it seems there was a lot to see because you can't hold a towel, a gun, and a drink, ya know?

But anyway, then I had to fire him for being a drunk all the time. People must of thought I was a little crazy, firing Mean Mitch, but I didn't figure getting fired was a good reason to kill someone, especially if no one was paying him too, and he got a big advance anyway. I got the Big Game over that old lady with the other Riverboat because Jack went and paid off the mayor or something, won't even let me take care of myself.

But then Jack had to go and have him a towel tailor-made to embarrass Mitch, and Mitch was coming for him right after Jack just got me my brand new hat, and I thought, "Well here goes. Mitch is gonna try to shoot Jack, and I'm gonna have to jump in the way, and my new hat is just gonna be ruined." Mitch got a little loopy when Jack told him it was funny, just laughing and laughing and not stopping, and Jack then passed right out, from relief that Mean Mitch hadn't shot him, I guess.

After that Mean Mitch went straight and stopped his drinking and wore the clothes I'd bought him, so he could work for me again. We had the big game on my boat then. No one blew my boat up, which I tried to make sure by not letting them sneak any weapons or gunpowder or the like on my boat. No one will give me any insurance on that boat, sure those boys are going to blow it up sometime. They probably will, but I'm saving my earnings so I can get another when they do.

Oh, and there was those rumors that started about me because Random thought I was too drunk and carried me upstairs and locked me up and didn't even stay! I'm very unhappy everyone thinks I'm a tart or somethin' when I didn't even get a kiss nor nothin' from him. Jack says Random must like me a lot, because he's never done that before. I think Jack's a little confused about what "likes" means, but he did get me a hat, so I won't argue with him, not just now, anyhow.

Posted by Liz at 9:11 PM

Ambercon North 2004

It was the con of Names for Things that Are Not their Proper Names.

The Hotel of Which We Do Not Speak (the Isabelle, or something like).
The Hotel that is Cursed Forever (Town Inn Suites, for being bad).

Seriously, for the organizers, I'm sure it was something of a small nightmare. For me, who arrived at noon on Friday, I had no problems. I parked. I visited and ate (Thai, I think, with Ms. F who gave me tips) and developed a strategy for getting as much as possible out of the hotel if they wanted to move me, then I checked in with no problem and didn't get to use all the cool ahead-of-time roleplaying I'd done in my head.

"That isn't acceptable. I want both nights comped, I want a key with access to your pool and your business center, and I want free parking." (All I really wanted was the key, but what the heck?)

Anyway, hotel issues aside, the basement space all my games were in was very cool. It was a little damp, so my sinuses weren't thrilled, but not so much that it infringed on my enjoyment.

Friday night after a nice dinner at Living Well, I played in Kit's To Live and Die in Texorami. For you fellows with any knowledge of this game, I didn't make a character ahead of time, and I was told anyone who didn't make a character ahead of time is somehow related to Jack.

More on that in my next post.

Saturday Kit and Brianne and I went via subway to Casa Loma, which made me unbelievably jealous of rich people, and gave me lots of Juliana ideas. Pictures, I hope, sometime soon.

Saturday night we played Lean Times in Amber. This one was Elyssa's story, or the beginning of the real meat of what will be Elyssa's story, so I'm going to stay out of the way on it. It was set post-Carnival in time, which means we stayed fuzzy on most of what will happen during Carnival. Some real good roleplaying at the end. Lovely. New Characters in our Amber are: Johnson, a sailor currently working as a bodyguard to the Duchess, who has a lemur; Wren, a new (3 days new) watch detective in Southside who is asking way too many questions about the Crime Lords and will likely be dead soon; Griz, a female sailor currently acting as Wren's thug; Wilfred, a male prostitute that has now been gotten off the streets and given a job as Wren's Secretary; Fioonan (sorry JP, notes aren't here), the heir to some italian sounding house, who works as a heraldry scholar, and as a doctor. People got to watch the Duchess and the Duke interact in their 'very polite, under stress, not happy to see each other here' mode. That was fun too.

Sunday morning after checkout my game was with Rae... I forget the name of the game, but it was the one with a goat. It was a silly game, but fun.

Long trip back, no idea why. More traffic coming out of Toronto, I guess, but we gabbed the whole way back - some of the way there was spent listening to musicals until the popularity song on the Wicked CD got us talking about high school.

I hope some of you folks who missed this year will be back next year. I hope to be back, and I hope to have the full four days. (We missed you Bryant.)

Posted by Liz at 9:08 PM

September 10, 2004

In The Dark

Well, it's been awhile since Jennastasia has decided to take over on me.

She decided to poke Fiona - and with more than one stick.

Jeff, you might find this amusing.

[Castle Library, the eve of Morgan's wedding.]

Seeing Princess Fiona, who she had managed to keep at enough of a distance to avoid an introduction until now, Jenna stops. All her defenses come up on alert.

'She does look just like my mother,' Jenna thinks, and after four years the thought was more amusing than disturbing. Now she understood a good deal more than she had at seventeen, analyzed and interpreted any number of possibilities concerning why her father had decided to marry a woman who looked so much like his sister. While not all of those were amusing, the absurdity of the situation makes her smile, and not just politely.

'No avoiding it now,' she thinks, and walks over to the table the princess is seated at.

Jenna curtsies, "Your highness. Somehow we've managed not to be introduced. I'm Jennastasia, Julian's daughter."

Fiona is sitting at the large main desk (seems even larger considering her petite stature). The desk has several piles of books and a few scrolls on it. The space right in front of Fiona is clear.

She watches Jenna's approach and turns her chair from the desk to greet Jenna. Her expression is on the lighter side of neutral. She nods at Jenna's curtsy. "It has been managed though I doubt either of us should take the credit. I am pleased we have this informal opportunity to break with that tradition, Jennastasia.�

"I have just sent for tea, would you care to join me?" The reading materials on the desks seem for the most part to be histories and treaties.

Jenna nods. "Tea would be nice. I hope you won't mind if I start my research while we wait for it to arrive."

"By all means." She will watch Jenna for a moment. Then selects a very old looking book from the bottom of one of the piles from the desk. She sits back with it open on her lap, casually reading.

Jenna is looking for books that have histories of Rebma. She's looking for histories that seem more traditionally scholarly than storytelling by biased individuals. She will use whatever reference is available to get this done (likely a librarian, I'm guessing.) She'll start with about five.

She doesn't expect to find answers pertaining to King Morgan's announcement this evening in these � she just wants to get more of a feel for Rebma, starting topside. Early treaties or paperwork between Amber and Rebma would be a special treat. (And here Liz realizes Fiona may very well have everything Jenna is looking for� laughing!)

GM: No staff currently in the library. Most likely sent away to collect tea. No immediately apparent organization method. Jenna probably heard from Auric, Andrew, Aros, or maybe Fitzgin that the library is roughly organized by section per family member (Oberon�s in the largest portion taking up over half). After that the sections are maintain per the individual family member's taste (either explicit or implied). Generally the staff just tracks where books belong, they don't really have right to study these texts for content.
How long will Jenna look for books in this huge two-story room? Does she try any particular method(s)? Would she ask Fiona for any assistance?

L: She will not ask Fiona for assistance. She�ll start by trying to locate Llewella�s section, because that makes sense to her. If the tea makes it before she�s done, she�ll sit down for tea, and let the librarians know she�ll have some questions for them when she�s done.

G: How much would Jenna have been paying attention to Fiona while looking for Llewella's books?
Jenna locates a small section (5 to 6 shelves) that seems likely to be Llewella's. Many of the books are on waxed papers; a few seem to have the writing sewn in.
Then the tea arrives. The lady pushing the tea trolly is quite old, but seems nimble enough of movement.
The books et. al. on the desk have been moved to either side, so there in a clear path across the middle. Fiona sits where she was and a chair on the desks opposite side is available for Jenna. The servant is setting out the china.

Jenna comes over and sets her things aside too. (As for watching Fiona, she kept her eyes about what she was doing, but her alertness and defenses are pumped up. She certainly listened.) She smiles up at the librarian and takes her seat.
"The distribution of books here is fascinating," she notes to her aunt. "It must be nice to have your own section. I'll have to start building one."

Fiona seems in a pleasant mood. "A noble endeavor. I believe there are some unoccupied shelves in the southwestern corner and stacks. I am sure the King would not mind you adding to the library." She maintains eye contact, but does not seem to be offering any challenge. "Just as I am certain the rest of us will be interested to see what you place there."

Jenna grins. �I�m sure it will be telling. What it will be telling is another matter entirely.�

Jenna offers to serve the tea, freeing the servant up, if she�d like.

Jenna (after the servant is out of ear shot) begins, �So, there never seems to be a dull moment around here. Did I just come in at a busy time, or is it generally always so dramatic?�

Fiona nibbles at a cookie. "A little of both I suppose. We each always have our pursuits. Now though the Family is still dealing with restructuring after the War. Which is keeping us more occupied than usual with pursuits beyond our normal spheres of interest.�

"Contrarily, the Drama of the One True Realm is never diminished. Although we may need to rename it, in light of King Morgan's efforts. As a Family member fairly new to these dramatics, how do you interpret the events of today?"

�I know just enough not to jump to conclusions. It is wonderful to finally be in residence for a historical moment, as opposed to just hearing about them. I do wonder if he considered all the consequences of what he was about to do. But then, people rarely do have such foresight.� A small grin, just for Fiona, accompanies that. �I suspect Morgan�s announcement was hardly a shock, to some of you.�

Fiona inclines her head. "Morgan has been around long enough and was raised well enough to know when to take credit� even if the action was not intended for the purpose he is crediting.�

"I hope for Rebma's sake that he considered enough of the consequences. Historically when the rest of us strive to draw our own conclusions the odds tend toward someone playing an unfavorable hand.�

Jenna nods, and sips. "I was wondering if someone was going to make an announcement to the people. Our Queen, perhaps? The streets were chaotic this morning, and without strong leadership people are going to just grow more rattled. Things have been too unstable."

�Bleys is certain to have address the City. Gerard is likely to have Vialle address the nobility in the Castle.� Fiona sips.

Jenna nods, sets down her teacup. Something about Bleys addressing the city amuses her, but only her eyes show it.

�Unfortunately, until Random is well, we rely on many of us to lead where the people are used to a monarch for their stability.� She seems slightly more amused by this than chagrined. �While these responsibilities are keeping me and my siblings occupied enough to stay out of each others way for now, I wonder if we may be neglecting our (now apparently teeming) charges. Morgan�s ascension certainly caught many people by surprise. What surprises are the rest of your generation are plotting?� Again she seems slightly amused at the idea (but only slightly).

Jenna smiles. �Oh, I�m sure there will be a few more surprises from us, just as we�ll be surprised by your reactions. For my part though, I�m not sure Morgan should be classified as part of my generation. Is he not over half a millennia old? Or am I thinking of Gerard�s son?� Her brow furrows in thought.

�According to the Amber calendar they are both supposedly that old. Whether they spent more time in Shadows moving faster or slower to Amber�s pace is not clear. For the academics of that, how old are you now? Is your personal age more significant than the time pasted in Amber? If you were to stay off in Benedict�s training while a year passed here, would you still be younger than your parents? If not would that place you in a different generation?� Fiona delivers all the questions rhetorically.

Jenna just grins in great amusement at this string of questions she isn�t expected to answer.

�When you mention finding your parent�s and their siblings reactions surprising, would you go so far as to suggest that Morgan moved the sea bed for shock value as much as anything else?� Fiona asks, and that question isn�t rhetorical.

�Morgan? I don�t know him, but from his demeanor, I sincerely doubt it. I think he did it because he could put his Kingdom in a better position, quite literally, it seems. �Yesterday I entombed my mother, this morning I raised the land of my people, tonight I marry.� I think he knows exactly what he�s doing and doesn�t really care much what people think. He seems to have it all under control so far. How long before his wife is pregnant?� Jenna asks, but hers is rhetorical as well.

�He also chose a time when it was practically guaranteed more than one of Amber�s royal family would be in residence in Rebma for the event. Again, I don�t believe he was aware it would be as dramatic as it was, but he knew it would noticed by those who can tell such things, I�m sure. Perhaps he thought it would be a metaphysical movement instead of a literal one. I�ll have to ask him, when I get the chance.�

Fiona continues with tea, nibbles a cookie while talking. �You are unlikely to find much to prepare you for that meeting in those.� Nods towards the books Jenna collected. �Morgan and his cousins have made no contributions here, as yet, and Llewella has not left anything that reflects on Rebma. Her books in the Rebman library, however, are quite detailed in regards to her mother�s land.�

�Oh, I might not learn anything useful for that, but I�m bound to learn something,� Jenna says rather offhandedly. �Are you going to be at this duel between your brother and Andrew?�

�I suppose I must. No matter how pedestrian the play, when ones immediate family is on stage it is only basic politeness to attend, try not to yawn, and clap when expected.

�What of yourself? Will you be standing in the sand to watch Andrew�s misplaced indignation rail against Bleys� supposed moral obligation?�

Jenna gives her an amused eyebrow over her teacup. �Andrew has a lot to be angry about. As long as this doesn�t go to the death, I�m not at all sure his indignation is misplaced. His anger, perhaps, but not his indignation. I will be there, unless something comes up to prevent it. Understanding the etiquette of the event is hardly the same as witnessing it firsthand.�

Fiona seems to have an honestly quizzical expression. �You believe Bleys has embarrassed and/or insulted Adrew? And to the level that this duel is not in fact an excessive misjudgment?

�While I understand that you may be justified in challenging Bleys on those grounds, I am curious what you believe Bleys has done to Andrew (or his mother) that was either insulting or embarrassing?�

Jenna can�t contain her smile. �I don�t betray confidences. I do believe you know your brother walks a tight line, and some people don�t appreciate such subtleties. Some of us are not yet bored enough to enjoy such games.� She sips her tea.

�But I do not intend to give Bleys the pleasure of a challenge, myself,� Jenna adds. �Andrew may have an argument with him, but common sense would indicate inviting Bleys to duel is excessive misjudgment. But, of course, Andrew is hardly common.�

Posted by Liz at 1:48 PM

September 7, 2004

I've been reading up on Native Americans

This article suggests some of our natives come from Australia.

It then goes on to contest that this latest finding is going to tick off Native Americans, who claim they came across the ice bridge, and therefore were the first here.

From what I've been reading lately, a number of Native Americans get really ticked off when you suggest they came across the ice bridge. They contend their god(s) birthed them From The Earth, here.

So while I don't think this latest bit about Australians being in America is going to please our current Natives, I doubt it will piss them off much more than anything else that's been done to de-bunk their personal beliefs.

Posted by Liz at 12:41 PM

April 19, 2004

Fight for Freedom

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Go read the stories and send them money.

Posted by Liz at 12:41 PM

Penguins, Xposted

PENGUINS (4-17, late afternoon)
I went to learn about Linux this morning and guess what? I'm seriously considering trying it as a means of getting off windows without having to buy a new computer.

We'll see. I need to find an installfest and backup my laptop and just go for it. This requires time and balls of steel.

Neil is lovely and charming and very warm to his fans. For that he now has my eternal respect. And he made Jenn's knees buckle.

Hopefully, pictures on my Blog.

Update: Pictures will not behave. Guess it will have to wait.

And tonight, I hope, parties and dancing.

Posted by Liz at 12:33 PM

Gender in SF, Xposted

2004-04-17 10:13:00; Gender in SF
Currently sitting in a panel with Sarah Zettel, Jane Irwin, Neil Gaiman, Jason Ahlquist and Steven Piziks. Very interesting. I was going to transcribe, but decided to pay attention instead.

Posted by Liz at 12:32 PM

PenguinCon and Neil, Xposted

2004-04-16 21:19:00; PenguinCon and Neil
Currently at a panel discussing freedom, the first amendment and the CBLDF.

Early got to sit and hear Neil read his short story from Shadows Over Baker Street, A Study in Emerald, for 54 minutes. It was wonderful. His voices are wonderful. He has great charisma. Fingers crossed on the Nebula for tonight.

Now getting depressed about the new Michigan law (House Bill No. 4360) that basically kills our comic book stores. Give the CBLDF money.

Posted by Liz at 12:30 PM

March 26, 2004

Amber News

New Amber DRPG News from ACUS!

Recently, Erick Wujcik and Mark MacKinnon signed a Letter of Intent to
transfer all publishing operations for the Amber Diceless Role-Playing
Gamefrom Phage Press to Guardians of Order.

While the details of this deal have not been finalised, Guardians Of
Order wishes to solicit input and suggestions regarding the publishing
of a new line of Amber role-playing products.

You are therefore invited to join Mark MacKinnon and Jesse Scoble at a
Roundtable Discussion on Sunday morning at Ambercon US in the
convention HQ Sunday morning.

Whoo-Hoo! :)

Mark C. MacKinnon -- President, Guardians Of Order Incorporated

Silver Age Sentinels * Big Eyes, Small Mouth * Licensed Anime Guides
BESM d20 * d20 Mecha * Nobilis * Tekumel
Get Connected! at

Posted by Liz at 9:08 AM

March 14, 2004

Game Wish

WISH 88: In Your Wildest Dreams

Do you ever dream about games and characters? Do you incorporate the dreams into your games? How? Has it been successful or unsuccessful?

Coming at this from a player perspective, I dream in character a great deal. At this point, it happens to me so regularly, I hardly even mention it. I just take it as 'character dreams' and be done with it, the same way I take the character being annoyed with me, or very excited.

Francesca, on the other hand, is about to have a dream written for her, and I didn't even have to dream it.

But I've been having NPC dreams for GA - Ahmose is having vision dreams. I've had many dreams in Juliana - some of them Kit has even worked into the game. Or kept as nightmares. I've dreamed in Portia, I've dreamed in Simone...

I don't know - I think it's just another way my mind builds an understanding on my characters.

Can't wait to dream in Hannah.

Posted by Liz at 10:36 PM


Hannah is up on the HoC youngers page.

I am so geeked.

Posted by Liz at 9:54 PM

March 6, 2004

Amber Meetup

Posted by Liz at 1:35 PM

February 23, 2004

WISH 85: Character Inspirations

Yes, it has been a long time since I did a WISH, but I'm busy, you know. This one I could not resist because I have this character who wants to come out so badly...

What inspires you to create characters? Do you have partially-developed characters in mind for use when you get into a new campaign? Do you shop characters around, or do you come up with new characters when you get into a campaign? Why? If you GM, are you bothered by receiving a solicitation for a �generic� character, or does it enthuse you to get a solid proposal even if it�s not closely tailored to your game?

Games inspire me to create characters. I definitely try to understand everything I can about a game before I submit a character for it. The character is meant to live in the universe of that game. They probably wouldn't do well in another one without a lot of twisting. And I'm not keen on twisting except for con games. And even con games, given enough time and info, I will create new characters for.

Characters I make need to be a challenge to me in some way. A learning experience.

Juliana is evil trying to be good, with a history of evil-doings and a legacy of pain from them. That in itself makes her complicated and hard to play, sometimes.

Sand is all about exploring the opposite side of the coin that is me. Hard to do - leads to deeper searching.

Francesca is just the opposite - she is immersing in 'me'. Her thoughts are right on the surface, and right or wrong, she wants them acknowledged.

Portia (although I didn't create her in the same sense as the others) is quiet. Usually. That is more a stretch for me than evil or domme will ever be. Quiet.

Melina is a mechanic. She doesn't think much. I have to pick her first instinct and play to it, even when I know it's bad and wrong. Being violent with the boyfriend. Putting death before life. Luckily, she has two voices to urge her to conscience.

Hannah, who won't shut up and doesn't really exist yet, is all about belonging to many worlds and yet none, and is somehow content with that position, because without the between folks there can be no bridges, so far as she is concerned.

And then... RESEARCH.

I think most people must consider research work. I don't. I consider it... energy. I love learning new things. Sometimes I think I play only to learn new things.

Juliana has me reading Dumas, all of it. The game, before I joined, had me reading The Phoenix Guards, 500 Years Later (?after), and Ill Met in Lankmar. It had me reading variations on the deWinter archtype online. Psychology books, medicinal/poisonus herbs and plants, horse-lore, and trying to figure out the peerage.

Sand - everything Egyptian and so much I didn't know. I can't even tell you how much I've read. I know what the ancients wore, ate, how their households work, what they used for birth control, what they believed, what they didn't, what they invented... they were just plan amazing. I've also learned about bellydancing (modern and otherwize), movie stars in Egypt over the past 60 or so years, and how pyramids may have been made and why (theoretically) they were built where they were.

Francesca has had me read books about the female restoration playwrights (thank you Ginger!), re-reading my Wil and my Kit, and between all those folks there is enough work to keep me reading through the year.

Portia had me searching the internet for Seer mythos. A little for stuff on sailing (which I figure any daughter of Gerard is bound to pick up, even if she never sails). And the game got me re-reading some of the angel pantheon I'd ignored.

Melina I have to admit, has brought me the least research. The concept is so far out there for me that I just play her by gut - because in the end she's a gut character. Early on I read some mech glossary, trying to get some of those terms in my head...

Simone We won't even talk about the TONS of material I read for this character - or the philosophy texts that didn't quite blow my mind.

Hannah had me all over the web last night, and assaulting poor Paul with facts. I know more about the Omaha than any casual net-surfer should know. And I have yet more questions - what made them break off from the Sioux and seek out their own lands in the early 1500's? Why did their population dwindle to about 300 at one point (they're about 5000 now, half on the reservation.) And this one family - the la Flesche family - good lord, these kids were over-achievers. The eldest (I think) Suzette went to Washington and was the first Native American woman to speak to the Senate - the eulogized her on the Senate floor when she died. She went to Ireland and came back to the reservation to die after trying almost her entire adult life to convince her white people to treat her native people better. Francis, the second son, had two law degrees and helped an anthropologist woman, Alice Fletcher (another rarity) record everything he could about the Omaha - including recording sacred songs on wax cylanders. He wrote books, and went to work for the Bureau. Susan became the first Native American woman to get her medical doctorate. There is a hospital named after her in Oklahoma.

There is a biography about her, and the music that was recorded can be got on CD, but I'm not going there. Not yet.

Anyway, you can see how I get caught up in the research - and I think it does help give depth to the characters. When you know the Omaha women were the ones who put the tipees together, you know your girl can set up camp. When you know they cleared the fields, and then the men seeded them, you know you're not talking about some whimpy girls. When you know what weeds they smoked...

I don't shop characters around. I tend to stumble onto inspiration after I know something about the game. I often try to fill a hole. Portia, Melina, Juliana - all hole fillers. That I look around for historic inspiration when I can (Susan La Flesche for Hannah, Simone de Beauvior, Alpha Behn) just gives me a stronger sense of our female heritage that society managed to hide from me. All these women I met through gaming. That alone makes the 'work' worth it for me.

Posted by Liz at 9:19 AM

January 1, 2004

Grand Affair Players at ACUS

Calling all GA players who'll be at ACUS.

We will be gathering at least once, officially, during the con to make sure we all get some quality time meeting each other.

Rey has generously offered his room for this event, and I have offered to organize/help host.

Right now we're looking at the long break on Saturday. Will this work for everyone? Who is all going? Suggestions and so on in comments please.

We can go out somewhere - but I don't want anyone to feel pressured about money, so we can have a 'finger food potluck' too, if everyone thinks that'd be better. (Hell, I can bring my crockpot.)

Posted by Liz at 9:25 PM

December 23, 2003

Sand, Again


Now this was a black and white I painted on. Very fun.

Posted by Liz at 9:24 PM

December 19, 2003

Legs, Damn right


Francesca - Ain't she lovely. This one is for Caine's Office...

I picked it (not Francesca's normal style of clothing) because after the way JG wrote that interlude, this picture may say more about potential he sees in the lady...

Posted by Liz at 3:02 PM

December 17, 2003


Getting hit with excellent posts all over the place this morning.

Francesca begs and gets what she wants (offlist). Onlist, she talks about her mother, which is always... telling.

Juliana bathes with Dee and asks twenty questions. Things are different here.

Portia... is taken care of.

Merlin takes a deep breath accompanied by a thoughtful look. Portia can see Roland in that particular expression. What he thought would be an easy agreement just became more difficult.

"You're right. This is tricky," he agrees. "If Roland stays here, your reputation will be shot by morning. What you do when there are only a few witnesses
doesn't really matter. It gets covered up. But not this, not when Roland is in your room overnight for all the family, servants and nobility to see. It's too public. It can't be hushed up. It gets around to the rest of the nobility and before you know it both your Dad and your brother are fighting duels over your
honor, and guess who they'll pin the blame on? Roland and me.

"I know Roland won't mind taking the fallout and neither do I but there has to be an easier way... I trust Roland's judgment to have you look after him." He pauses thoughtfully with that determined look of one who is intent on solving a problem. "So I guess it's up to me to take good care of both of you here.

"Mind if I use your couch?" he asks. "You won't even know I'm here unless there's trouble. I won't need anything except my books and a couple of artifacts. I have some projects to finish tonight so I wasn't planning on sleeping. I'll be your chaperone."

Posted by Liz at 9:45 AM

December 12, 2003


You remember that collaborative blog for the game we have.

I posted on that today too.

Check out: Obviously

Posted by Liz at 9:52 AM

December 11, 2003

Girl, tied to tree

Seda is tied to a tree. At least she has someone to talk to.

PC intervention is welcome. Feel free to email me if you want to save my sorry ass. Or just gloat.

Posted by Liz at 5:46 PM

December 9, 2003

Juliana and 'the other' Deirdre

Temptation, my friend.

Dancing. Drinking. Eating at racy establishments. Good-deed doing. Juliana is drunk, and half high from the rush of giving away food to the poor.

And Deirdre is up to something.

But does it matter? It's all a dream.

Posted by Liz at 10:01 AM

Portia and the Magi

Portia is nervous as all get out that she's going to piss off Merlin. At the same time, she's willing to piss off Merlin.

But the girl is not thinking clearly. Roland almost just died. Everyone is just carrying on in their own little ways. Her father is upset. And who knows which hoards are about to descend.

Trumping her brother may not be a bad idea as a next step. "Could you come stand in my doorway? Thanks."

Posted by Liz at 9:59 AM

Why is Kiya crying?

I wish I knew, exactly. She started crying because she's tuned into Sand, and Sand was crying. Then the stress, and joy at this accomplishment...

Perhaps it's just a release. Ela thinks she knows. I'm not so sure. Something else may be going on with Kiya, but she's not telling me.

Posted by Liz at 9:55 AM

Francesca's discomfort

I'm so glad I decided to play Francesca with some strange little discomforts the morning of Day 1 - because by the time Corwin is done, she's going to have some.

Which is good.

Hurt me so I don't feel compelled to ask Nik to do it.

Posted by Liz at 9:52 AM

October 23, 2003

The Ladies are on Fire

Grand Affair is hot, but even my non-grand affair game is steaming up.

Juliana's having a very Well Met moment in her own little weirdness
scene. Not sure if scewing someone while you're under an illusion counts.
She's stopped caring, for the moment.

And I must end with:

Oh my god. Passel! Oh my god.

Posted by Liz at 5:47 PM

October 19, 2003


And this sure did wake me up today, when I got this email:

"Portia," her father says coming straight to the point. "It's Roland. Erin here tells me he's dying and he's calling for you."

Argh! More on this later, to be sure.

Posted by Liz at 10:16 PM

October 13, 2003

Gaming is the Best Education

Ancient Egyptians used sponges for birth control.

Victorian women who could find the right information had more choices than I would have thought. Cervical caps, even.

Lemons may be a good spermicide, and may kill the AIDS virus - but not proven yet - studies underway in Thailand. It may also hurt the cervical lining. Casanova apparently mentioned lemons, but he didn't have a cervix to worry about.

Francesca is giving advice she knows good and well could get her strung up by this girl's guardian if she gets caught - but she can't not do it! She just can't.

And her advice isn't great at all, but it's all she's got.

And then there is all the information she's not even offering - all the morning after nastier stuff. But the douching advice may be painful enough.

One common method was douching with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), alum, vinegar, quinine. or various other mixtures. Some people say this hurts, some people say it's fine. I haven't tried it so I don't know. Quinine?

Posted by Liz at 8:39 PM

Portia and Melina

I got to write up a new email turn for Portia last night. The GM totally had her mother throw her through a loop. I expect this is going to happen often. Much stammering and hand wringing happened. Portia is NOT HAPPY about this new development.

Melina is going to go risk her neck. I'm well aware as a player that she might actually get killed. She, on the other hand, isn't thinking about that too much. She's too obsessed with her goals. The other Tari and going to be completely screwed if she gets killed.

Maybe she should ask them to help her with this, like they asked her for help. She's just so afraid they'll talk her out of it, and she doesn't want to be talked out of it.

Posted by Liz at 11:03 AM

October 11, 2003

Juliana and Parallel Universe Eric

Oh, boy. Immunity, she has not.

Juliana is caught in the weirdness, again, this time in 'current time' waking up in bed, in the buff, with Eric. Phillip has been dead for fifty years. She's gotten up and put on her robe and she and Eric have spoken at length about what may have happened. Now she prepares to leave him in her bedroom so he can go back to sleep and she can explore 'her' sitting room.

She pulls the blanket out and wraps it around her. She smiles over at him, and heads out of the room. She takes her time unlocking the door.

While she is unlocking the door, Eric walks over to her. He gently rests his hand on her shoulder.

She closes her eyes and turns and rests her check against his shoulder. She breathes.

Eric simply holds her.

She stays there awhile, smelling him and just feeling warm and... dreamy. Eventually she shifts... just the right way against him, and is taken by a low moan in the back of her throat as she steps away.

He lets her go, albeit perhaps a bit slowly.

She lets out a shaky breath. "I... um..." she grins and shakes her head. "I'm going to go read now... or some... thing," she says, but doesn't move.

"I should let you do that," he says, but does not move either.

She nods slowly, takes a deep breath, and bolts.

Eric lets Juliana go.

She shuts the door behind her, and lets the breath out.

'At least put up a good fight, woman. If you can't resist him for a day or two you're just a sad... wife,' she tells herself, and yanks off the blanket to throw it in the chair.

'Cool air will help. Surely.'

She heads over to the bar and pours herself a strong drink. Her hands shake. She looks at the drink but doesn't pick it up. She sighs.

Posted by Liz at 10:15 PM

October 10, 2003

Roleplaying - Kid Style

Fi (age 8) and the two neighbor kids (ages 5 and 9) were playing McDonald's drivethru using Fi's playhouse tonight.

[Fi is the worker, the 9 year old is ordering, and the 5 year old is the one getting fed.]

"Welcome to McDonald's. What would you like to eat?"

"I'd like one chicken nugget, a small bucket of fries, and a soft drink."

"Do you want salt with that?"


"Do you want an apple pie?"

"No, but I want two toys in the meal."

"Okay, one chicken nugget, a little bucket of fries, and a soft drink with two toys. That'll be three rocks. Please pull to the second window."

[At the second window food is handed out, rocks in. Food is more rocks and some fallen leaves, plus two toys from the playhouse. The five year old starts 'eating' the food right there.]

"Excuse me, no eating at the window. Other people are waiting for their food."

Posted by Liz at 9:11 PM

October 9, 2003

Francesca - Shoe Horse

Geez, the woman wanted me to write three sentences about her shoes!

It's smut, lady. And it's not foot worship smut. We don't need three sentences about your shoes.

We compromised at one sentence. I didn't want my man distracted with too much shoe talk.

They are deep blue slippers, embroidered with silver leaves, with no heels.

Posted by Liz at 11:47 AM

October 6, 2003

Francesca steals from Aphra

Francesca, Francesca, why must thou be a thief?
Aphra Behn did not write those words
So you could throw them at Nik's feet!

From Aphra Behn's The Dutch Lover

Ah false Amyntas, can that hour
So soon forgotten be,
When first I yeilded up my power
To be betrayed by thee?
God knows with how much innocence
I did my heart resign
Upon thy faithless eloquence,
And gave thee what was mine.

I had not one reseerve in store,
But at thy feet I laid
Those arms which conquered heretofore,
Tho' now thy trophies made.
Thy eyes in silence told their tale
Of love in such a way,
That 'twas as easy to prevail,
As after to betray.

Posted by Liz at 9:08 PM