Design For Living - Romanov's Diary - The Keepings Of Romanov

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The Keepings Of Alexei Romanov

Forward: These are the diaries of the Amber character Romanov, played by Anthony Edmonds, during the games Saving Grace and A Brand New Beginning hosted by Kevin Dennis. Part of the Design for Living Campaign

Saving Grace (Reconstructed)

So there we were, on the battlefield, pushing Chaos back to the point of extermination, when suddenly, we see Corwin and the Jewel of Judgement in the middle of the battlefield, with Benedict fighting him for it. The Jewel falls into the Abyss, and all hell breaks loose. Chaos creatures rise up OUT of the Abyss, and they start pushing our forces back. We are evacuated from the battle in the midst, and teleported back to Amber (Or close enough). And to add insult to injury, upon arrival, I land and break my Vodka flask! If things are not bad enough, I have to sit there and watch as the precious fluid is absorbed into the soil, wasting much of my Shadow Vodka. I spent many months formulating that brand, that flavour, that.. texture. All gone to waste. Alas, I will have to bring some more out of my shadow after I repair my flask.

Things are looking up. Mei-Lian.. I think that was her name... created my Vodka. From a TREE. Truly it is a wondrous day when one can drink a tree.

We returned to Amber, and we got up to speed with the results of the battle. It seems that most of the elders on the battlefield were captured alive by the Chaosian forces, and taken back to Chaos and their various quarters/houses/whatever. OK, we have to go rescue them now. From the heart of Chaos .

I have checked my cellar, it is full to the brim with Shadow Vodka. Excellent. I have fixed my flask with my trusty hammer.

We travelled to the border of Chaos (Via the Pattern) and stepped into their land. We were almost immediately accosted by Chaosian forces. A rider and a giant ant.. thing... Needless to say we took action. While Athena subdued the rider, I took down the ant.. thing.. (K.O) it wasn't much of a fight, come to think of it, I have not had this much of a walkover since.. well.. ever. I found on the Chaos rider's three trump cards. All Logrus powered cards, one to a royal chamber of some form, one to a pub, and one of a Chaosian lady. Turns out the pub is actually one to the 'Black Watch'. Shame really, it looked like quite a nice venue.

We captured the rider alive (Bloom killed the ant.. thing.. She is actually quite vicious.. surprising for a fairy.. thing..) and brought him back to Amber, and into a holding cell. In the mean time, we spoke to the wartime co-ordinator. Oberon is not well, and so cannot lead us at this time. Gerard is in charge now, and he is telling us to go back to Chaos and find the elders.

Surprise Surprise, the guards holding the Chaos rider were killed, and the Chaosian escaped. Great, never trust a person who you don't know the name of to do anything right.

We are doing some research in the library before heading off. Time to catch some Z's

Bloom is angry at me. Might have something to do with the Vodka I threw on her when she woke me up in the library. So I was dreaming about my drinking cat, Eva. Eva and I used to put them back like nothing. Ahh.. poor Eva. She died a long time ago. I got some trump cards of all the elders, but these are the ones from the library. Nice.

The Diary is Lost From This Point. Reconstruction From Memory. Events May Be Incorrect/Out Of Sequence

Athena has decided that we should deep strike into the Heart of Chaos in order to save her mother, Fiona. Mei Lian is going to use her Shape-shifting abilities to make us look Chaosian. I locked all my Trump cards (Except the Chaos ones) in the library cabinet.

Mei Lian has shape-changed me.. into a gorilla. Not that I mind, it is actaully quite an enlightening experience, being so comfortable being naked in public.. its wierd. I trumped us into the chamber.

Turns out it was a royal waiting room. Mei Lian, Athena and I simply walked out without a second glance. We are now deep in chaos.

We have learnt the position of Melissa, one of the younger Amberites. She is being paraded through the town. We are going to mount a rescue effort.

Using my superb Trump skills, we pulled it off. I made a trump gate open above her (To the Abyss, no less) whilst Bloom/Tag got her off the parade and to safety. We left and got as far as we could before we were sure we were safe..ish.

Melissa is now in Amber. She is recovering, however, Fiona is apparently getting married to some Chaos lord, here we go again.

Problem, we can't quite get there. Athena and Mei Lian have a direct Trump invite, but only for them, if they need assistance, they will have to call us from Chaos. Bloom has shown me a strange Rose Brooch, that apparently belonged to Corwin. It has a.. strange Trump about it. I am going to activate it.

Well.. now I am in trouble. The brooch took me to Corwin's personal shadow. However, in this shadow he is their King, and he has created some sort of design in the ground. Apparently it has power, like the Pattern. However, I was accosted by guards and so climbed this giant tree in which I now sit. They have muskets. I am going to try contacting Bloom and Tag. Here's to hoping.

Tag and Bloom were real helps. We came down the tree, and surrendered. Now we are in prison 'waiting' for an audience with the princess. Luckily, the cell is not warded, and chains are weak and so easy to escape from. On the bright side, there is plenty of bread and cheese. This calls for one thing, and one things only. Cheese Balls.

My gorilla form is starting to wear off. I'm gonna need some clothes.

We got bored, and when we learnt that there was a ceremony going on outside, I trumped us into the giant tree. From there we saw the 'Design' lit up like an X-Mas Tree. Bloom went down to investigate closer (Being the least conspicuous) she learnt more than she was hoping to, and so did we. She got confused by the crowd as one of the people who were walking the 'Design', however, in difference to the Pattern, her life was shown to the entire crowd.. in big-screen dolby-surround style... and she seems.. different... The crowd know her for a stranger, and yet, they accept her. Something is fishy here... They are approching her.. time to move in.

We met the princess. About darn time. It seems that Bloom is now considered a princess here.. everyone treats her with a royal respect. Wierder and wierder. The Princess explained alot about what is going on. Corwin made this design to replace the pattern (Which, by the way, is dying). Corwin is in Chaos, we need to find him to get asnwers. Time to go to Chaos.

That might be easier done than said. Mei Lian and Athena need our help. Time to bust out some action.

After a massive combat aginst a room filled with Shape-Shifters, we have rescued Fiona. After dispatching the guards near the altar, some big-ass Chaos Lord came onto us. Gremble.. Grundle.. soemthing... anywho, Athena kept him busy whilst I attacked the priest dude. I sliced him in half with Trump. And yet he still fought.... still. The battle started turning sour, so we high-tailed it out of there, but not before I was knocked unconcious and lost my hammer. That hammer which had followed me through Hell and High-Water, now lies in the possesion of Chaos. Damn it. Fiona is now recovering in Amber, however, something is drastically wrong. The pattern is near death. Something is draining it.

We have arrived at the 'Primal Pattern'. Oberon is here, near death. Brand is unconcious, and Benedict is spilling Corwin's blood on the pattern. Time for a show-down, traitorus scum.

A Brand New Beginning

Day 1

Alot has happened since my last entry, so it is time to clarify some details.

I used Trump to distract Benedict during the battle. I had Tag and Bloom supporting me, and it was working. Then, Bloom and Tag dropped out. I was defenceless. To stop Benedict from obliterating my mind, I spent all my energy and forced myself completely into the connection. Benedict, apparently was about to be killed. He did what I did. We switched bodies. Athena lopped Benedict's head off. Unfortunatley, I was in Benedict's body at the time. Benedict escaped in my body. Damn it. Luckily, Mei Lian kept my new head alive.

Mei Lian has now grown me a new body. Damn, its uncomfortable and.. just not right. And I am Hungry, so damn Hungry! I feel like I could eat a horse.. no.. a giraffe... no... an elephant... TWO!

A few days have passed. I am still hungry, no matter how much I gorge myself, I still feel it. Luckily I have gained no weight. Corwin has called us all to a banquet, and he presented us with information and items. He gave me Benedicts sword. A nice two-handed sword... balanced... very nice. He let us go as we choose.

Mei Lian wants to leave to find a new power source, and perhaps do some soul-searching and piecing together of the events. She can't go back to Chaos.. she betrayed them. Regardless, I will accompany her.

I met a strange robot today. Similar in form to an old Earth show called 'Transformers'. He said that he knew not of it, so I didn't push the point. I too spent some time in Ygg (The giant tree) and thought and reflected on the events of late. I lost my body, my home. All I have now are my friends, but even now I feel the strain on that increasing. I will go with Mei Lian. At the very least, we may return to Amber. I need to get my Family Blade from my cellar. I hope it has survived any attack that may have happened.

Mei Lian and I have set off. With us is Atikus and Athena. We go in search of answers.

We have entered a Shadow where there appears to be.. a Unicorn. Atikus and I are giving chase, if it is THE Unicorn, then good things may lay ahead....

Day 2

We chased the Unicorn, and after all that, it was just a Unicorn. Not saying that Unicorns are in themselves common, but. Bad news, but not as bad as the fact that water tasted better than Vodka. VODKA. I am sickened. SICKENED! I tried every form of alcoholic beverage I could find, and yet, Water came out on top. This body... just.. no.... Just No. Benedict is a sick sick person.

Anyway, Mei-Lian has wandered off, and so we are off to find her.

Ok.. she is here... but she isn't. Athena is working on a spell to find her. Nothing to do for a while.

I managed to find two Shadow Rabbits. Them's good eatin'.

Oh, we found Mei-Lian as well.

Apparently Mei-Lian found some sort of.. Fox creature. That that means is beyond me.

We have walked for weeks now to get to Amber. Although the walk has been interesting in itself, and I have gained some nice kit, I miss Trumping. It was my passion. I hope Amber has answers.

Tag is back with us. He was miss-trumped through a wall (Amateurs). Athena is unconscious as is Atikus. I had to knock him out after I passed an offensive trump call onto him. With Tag, he was heavily injured. Mei-Lian used her magic touch on him, and I got to try out my 5/8ths hammock, made with re-enforced Elastane string.

Tag has gone ahead to Amber. It seems he chose to walk the Design. Hopefully he made it this time.

We are now in Amber. We are at the Primal Pattern, rather. It is still barren. Mei-Lian uncovered a cave, and we entered. Dworkin was here. He is ancient. he has tapped some power, but cant control it.. he keeps getting flung about. It seems he has the same appreciation of water as me. It's actually quite nice, water that is... cheaper and easier to access too!

We have left Dworkin.. with more questions than answers unfortunately. We are now heading to Amber.

I have searched my Cellar. Many years have passed, and all the Shadow Vodka has gone. The barrels rotted. I removed my family blade from its hiding place, and to my disdain, it is broken.

Like my life.. like my home.. like my past, it is broken. That same sword that was used to save my life. That same sword that represents everything that I ran from. Leaving my family behind to die so that I may live. This sword means more than any Amberite could understand. It is my past. It is me. Although I hide behind strength and humour.. I have been broken inside. The blade will.. MUST be repaired. And so must I.
It is time to take action. And cast vengeance onto Chaos. I lost my adoptive father. I will not lose Bleys. My real father.

Day 3

I moved with haste.. it was like some power was calling out inside me, but I couldn't release it. i knew what my body was asking me to do, but I could not comply. I needed power to act.. and I needed to act now.

I asked Tag to send me back to Faravendrel? Damn it.. why can I never remember the name of that city? Anyway, he complied, and so I made it back. To my surprise, both Tag and Bloom seemed to have a problem with me approaching the start of the Design... I haad better wait for things to cool down before I try it.. so I trumped to the Blacksmithery. Unfortunately, just as I trumped through, a guard tackled me, landing me in more trouble than I was hoping for. I had to leave the Family Blade and make my escape. I returned to my chambers. I gathered a few things here, then I teleported to Ygg, to wait out the guards.

I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys. I am gaining this power to save Bleys.

I saw Bloom waiting on the Design... so I stopped to talk to her. For some reason, she was making no sense.. she kept asking me what I was doing.. and saying something about the Design being dangerous... regardless, after a while I had to force my way onto the Design.

I made it with minimal injuries to others and myself, unfortunately I had to manhandle Bloom to get to the start of the Design, but I made it. Walking it.. was weird... it reminded me of the first time I walked the Pattern... but this energy is different.. Once I had completed my walk.. everyone seemed to be happy with me... and well, generally happy. I.. feel at home.

I almost didn't go... the feeling is.. no. If I had not written and trained the mantra into my head.. I fear I would not have gone. Tag has shown me the basics. More than I need to know to reach Chaos.

I have left dammit. I am in a wood that we walked to earlier, and whilst Mei Lian and Athena do whatever they are doing.. it is time to draw what could be the most vital trump in my life. The trump that would save Bleys.

Day 4

The Trump is complete. Now all that is left to do is activate it.

I had Bleys.. I was so close. I reached Chaos no problem, I was trumped outside the prison where he was being held, a great tower surrounded by a moat of blue goo. Perhaps two dozen Chaos Ant creatures came out of the tower.. and more seem to be coming out of it each moment. I called Tag and Bloom, and they came to help me fight them.

We successfully made it to the tower and ascended to the prison level. I found Bleys. He was protected by some sort of barrier... it made me weak.. so terribly weak. It softened the very blade I held.. Benedicts. I used the sword to cut the chains holding Bleys to the wall, and in the process, shattered the blade.

We made our escape, but as we were travelling, a great blackness dropped me to my knees. I later learned that Bloom too had passed out when trying to pick up Bleys. Perhaps a spell or ward put on him to prevent his being rescued. Tag had to leave Bleys behind and carry myself and Bloom back to the Design.

So Close.

I regained my strength, and trumped Bleys. To my joy, he answered the call and I was able to pull him through. However, within moments of my saving him, he was attacked by a Chaos trump. It was powerful.. very powerful... the others tried to help, and we almost pulled it off.. but we were overtaken at the last moment, and transported to Chaos.

There, I once again met Gramble.

Luckily, he took me at face value for Benedict. I played along. Gramble offered me a drink.. he called it "The Blood of The Serpent". I drank some... and boy did I feel worse for it. The entire room seemed to spin.. I couldnt focus. I didn't notice that the others had somehow broken into the court and were already engaging Gramble to save me and Bleys.

It was then that I had the feeling that brought me to this point.

It was then that I saved all else.. and dammned myself.

Gramble was overpowering the group.. I could feel the impending deaths if I did nothing. I used my power of Trump, and sent them all as far away as I could. Anywhere, as long as it was away and out of Chaos.

Now all I have left are these recordings...

It gets harder each day.. to remember.. what these are recordings of.

Each passing day.. I lose..

I.. don't think I can continue writing in this book.


The Return Of Romanov

The Slave Camp

Entry Date: Day 1

There is not much I can recall. Slaves are not allowed personal affects, so these will have to be brief entries between shifts. Who, How and Why I am here - these are things I cannot answer. What I do know, I need to write down - incase I forget. Heck, i'm sure I had something like this before, but I guess the slavers took all my things.

The slavers in this mine are hard pushers. I spend my days mining some crumbly mineral. I have no idea what it is, or what it is used for, but I know it speaks to me. I look at the stuff and it just feels like I know it, that I should be able to DO something with it...

Entry Date: Day 11

The guards keep me chained up. I'm not sure why, I guess it may have something to do with my physical state over the other slaves. Everyone here that isn't a guard are thin and stick like, i'm surprised they can even lift their picks, but they must. It's that or be punished, maybe even executed.

How do I keep this diary from the guards. Well, as they never unchain me, I figured inside the manacles would work quite well. I write on what I can and with what I can. Right now I am using the stuff I am mining, it works quite well on this... stuff.

Entry Date: Day 24

A person who claims to be the leader of the mine has ordered mt transfer. Transfer? Why? And to where am I going!? I suppose they may search me again. This isn't going to be pleasent. If these records are damaged in transit, I apologise.

Entry Date: Day 52

After being sent through three other slave colonies, I have ended up in what can only be described as a prison. On what charge I know not. I managed to keep these diaries safe by hiding them in my... well, I guess you'd rather not know. It looks like I won't be getting any new writing implements. I will try and conserve this until something happens.

Entry Date: Day 84

My dreams are coming clearer to me. A few weeks ago, I began experiencing the most vivid dreams, and each day they increased in length and power. I saw myself.. or rather I saw something that I had seen from my eyes.. through my eyes. Regardless, each day I had a different dream. Sometimes they would run in sequence, sometimes I would get a random dream with no relative meaning or connection. At first I presumed they were just the workings of my mind, trying to escape the confines of these forsaken walls. Since I arrived here, I have not seen a single person. Anything that comes like food, appears out of nowhere. Lately, however, I have begun to feel a truth to these dreams. I am remembering things now, it's like watching someone elses life and being told that it's yours.

Entry Date: Day 102

Everything is clear to me now. I am Rennie, son of Amber. I used to work as a Blacksmith in a place called 'Rusher'. There I picked up a taste for 'Vodkah', a supposedly superior drink. Amber was destroyed and I travelled to Fere.. Fenre... Fenrisville. And I had friends.. several friends.. a robot called 'Attic', a Shapechanger called 'Meleean'.. some others, some that I can only recall in haze and yet I feel I know them...

I have also learned of my power... my power over Shadow, over Trump.. a higher entity that runs through me... the 'Defined'. There is so much to absorb...

Entry Date: Day 110 I should clarify that last entry.. I am Romanov. It's Vodka. It's the Design. It's Ferrisville.

Entry Date: Day 111 Fennevil

Entry Date: Day 112 Fenrevil

Entry Date: Day 113 It starts with Fen.

Entry Date: Day 116 My escape! Troops of my uncle Julian have sprung me from this prison. They sacraficed many to free me, and for this I am grateful. The troops were surprised, but thier hounds were very happy to see me, which as I recall is unusual. Regardless, I take my escape.

Something happened during my escape... I felt a dread and a sickness creep over me, and then I must have passed out... it is as if there was something pushing me away... within me. I still do not remember much of what transpired before my capture.

Entry Date: Day 117 I have spent some time with Julian's forces, and much of what I knew has returned to me. I must get back to Fenneval, they may need my help. Much has transpired it seems, since I was last there. My power over trump is weak still, but I feel the Design pulsing through me more strongly We aim to return to Fenneval later.

Return To Feneval

Day Something (Note: Find out date relative to Fereneenentyt)

Eventful – that is one word for the events that transpired.

I awoke once again in the woods outside of Fenerevalia. The guards explained the situation and I had to ponder once again.

It is like there is a battle within me. Something Benedict did to me.. or a result of my mind being of the design and my body the pattern… regardless I must walk the Design. If it is anything like the Pattern, it will correct everything. Damn useful if you ask me.

I decided it would be easiest to contact someone in Ferenerval. Atikus, he seems most likely to answer. I started working on a trump for him (My deck is gone with my possessions.) however I was disturbed by one of the guard dogs, Princess. She detected something in the wood and so we ventured forth to find this intruder.

We tracked the intruder down, and as it turns out… it was a cat… humanoid cat.


The cat – Malaria.. or was it Malara… The cat turned out to be a friend of Feneerevog. We interrogated her and agreed to return to Fenereevag

One thing that was weighing on my mind at this point was the condition of the dogs. I suspect that however they were bred.. or something done to them made them part of the pattern. With the Pattern gone, that means there is a gap in them. If I can induce the Design to them, I might be able to fix them.

We returned to Fenneraly. At which point I was accosted by guards. Apparently Benedict has infiltrated Fenereaval. As me. Regardless I walked the Design, and then proceeded to save Atikus from the hounds.. and hopefully win back the trust of the group…..

I walked the dogs across the Design. This has seemed to fix them… if it sticks, we have gained a great new power to aid us.


There was some sort of commotion going on.. I will have to see what that is all about.

The Fall Of Romanov... Pt. Two...

I should have known returning to Ferratval would just cause problems.

After breakfast with the gang, we decided that we should go after the priorities. Apparently the Jewel of Judgement is back.. and so was Oberon… even if he was dead… and now gone again…

Regardless I was on the team to get the Jewel back.

We travelled to a strange white place… which unfortunately turns out to be in the middle of space. As in a space station… not a random white blotch in space… regardless we began exploring the station. Following the lines on the floor to a mess hall area, we realised just how out of place we were… the entire population were small people. Dwarves if you will.

Oh, by this point Atikus had wandered off, as he does.

We came to a door that looked vaguely interesting and so I broke it down (The door, not MC Hammer style). Unfortunately the area seemed to be an airlock of some form. Spending a while drifting in the room, I decided to trump out (The other two had disappeared by now as well. Useful) where I was accosted by the small people. I allowed them to take me to a person in charge. I broke his door down too… and much to my surprise, it was Brand.

He made some proclamation about a new power source he had created… and I noticed he was wearing the jewel. This was it… he would never agree to hand it over – I needed to lull him into a sense of false security to catch him off guard. I bartered with him, promised my allegiance for his aid in Feeneeveel. He agreed, and whilst he sat in his chair with his feet up, I made my move. I kicked his desk in the hope it wasn’t fixed down, but it was. So the desk shattered into a thousand pieces and I jumped on Brand, clutching for the Jewel. I activated a trump out to effect my es

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