On the ledge between the Canadian Shield and Lake Superior, is the city of Duluth in UT. This great iron ore port at the terminal of the Great Lakes south of Thunder Bay is known for more than its wilderness, hills, rocks and trees. It is the home of Prince Arthur “the Bear”, son of Emperor Lucius and Grand Duchess Dara. Along with his three diverse and different brothers of the same parentage, they form the mysterious and very widely known children of Lucius known as the “the Bears”.
The scene is the former law office of Prince Arthur Bear in Duluth where he ran a laid back law firm where he spent more of his time playing with magics and playing war games. Some of his war game buddies were a future UT Field Marshall, his brother Barry and his cousin Icarus. One room shows a map of Europe in a World War II Board Game, set up the day, Arthur’s world changed forever.
With even pressed leaves in an endless number of books and a day minder with the exact same doodles, this site was rebuilt and has been named an Imperial Historical Site. To some, with the reformed UT Catholic Church, it is also a sacred site. Pope Barry in a recent announcement acknowledged the religious sanctity of the “bears” as part of the holy dogma.
The now out-of-date computer still reads June 3. The day that Duluth, UT, like this law office changed.
The largest invasion ever, in the Earth Zone in living memory, occurred when a massive rip occurred over Lake Superior in the heartland of UT’s North America. Being an inland sea far from the previous invasion attempt on the high seas off Bermuda (ie Battle of Bermuda, UT) the proud UT navy was not available to repel the invasion from inland. Though guarded by a barrier, the shadow was ripped open by what can only be nicknamed a ‘can-opener’ and the Corwin fleet pulled out. It is noted that after the Battle of Galveston that happened later, that the barrier was shattered into oblivion.
At this time, Arthur was still avoiding the fame and power that being a son of the dread lord of UT implies. A son of the Emperor brought many privileges and powers that the mild mannered young prince was avoiding. He was still trying to be plain folk to the people of the city he grew up in. Arthur was still trying to practice law and avoid the bigger contracts that large companies sought from the son of the Emperor.
Being a warm day in late spring, Arthur opened up his law office late after walking in from his nearby house. Being a regular day with few clients and with his suit still hanging on the wall, Arthur wore a light shirt and his dress shorts with sandals. There is a life sized statue of him as he was at the beginning of that fateful day inside the office.
Reporter Danny Blather asks what happens next as they walk along the battle site.
Arthur – There was a phone call from a friend of mine from the harbour. He asked me if there was a military exercise happening. There were more ships outside of Duluth than UT had ships in total and there weremilitary landing boats moving in.
DB – That sounds scary, what happened next.
Arthur – The Enemy felt that once Corwin opened the shadow, all they had to do was move in and march on Minneapolis, the so-called Northern Capital. They could overrun the heartland and divide the country. They were expecting surprise and that a small inland port city could not defend itself.
DB – They were so wrong.
Arthur – Luckily with help of one friend who was an officer in the underfunded Imperial Army (At the time, Lucius as he does now, strongly favours the Imperial Navy), plus I knew many of the officers with the reserves. I picked up the phone. Asked who was in charge and told them that the Emperor expects them to protect his birthplace and home city.”
DB – UT is a highly regulated militarized place – you assumed command without military rank or constitutional authority?”
Arthur – I did not take formalized command but I issued suggestions to commanders in the field who were trying to hold volunteers, militias and a few troops to provide a desperate resistance till reinforcements showed up.
DB – Why did you fight? You are not a general, some say you put yourself in unneeded danger.
Arthur – Riva and Guy kidnapped me many times, he sighs, I have been shot from torpedo tubes under the ocean, been moved around in a bakery truck, grabbed off the Freeway in Mallus when my car died mysteriously. That happened in line of sight of the Great All Seeing Blue within Blue Eye (all bears and the Twins have this as do most Channicut Helgrams) just above Dealey Square.
It is not a question of danger but of protecting one’s hometown, one’s property and one’s pride. I am not a militarist unlike the Twins. However I will protect my home and will fight anyone who invades my home.
(Chuckle) With friends, I sometimes focused on how to defend my hometown, which rivers to guard, bridges to hold and lose, key intersections and installations. These war games and mental activities though in fantasy, came in handy that day.
DB – How do you like being a ‘bear’?
Arthur – I hate that name. I am an individual and not part of a group of four. My brothers are proud individuals and great men in their own right – whether they are bears or not. There is a lot of superstition and silliness over the ‘bears’. Unfortunately it exists in the Black Zone with Bearways and even in Thrawn’s Space Empire and many other parts. I think it may exist in Asgard and Nod/New Asgard as well as other Non Earth Shadows. I think it is becoming active in Sasha’s Space Empire.
DB – Why do you dislike that term?
Arthur – I think the nickname came from the Field Marshall who penned it because I had a stuffed polar bear as a mascot. So what! Uncle Matthew has Tony the Tiger.
A bear is large lumbering, fat and stupid. (shaking his head) They sleep all winter and have terrible tempers. Barry is the nicest tempered people anyone can meet. He is the most bearlike with being more hirsute than any of Lucius kids but he is all muscle. You do not want to lose ribs with his big bear-hugs. Barry is a mega genius and is the head of the Church on UT and in other parts too.
DB – I will keep that in mind when I go to Rome to talk to him next.
Arthur – Barry has been able to hold the Twins in more control than even Dad.
DB – The Twins – pain in your side?
Arthur – I never want to see, taste, smell or feel pink champagne. There are some things that should NEVER be done to honey!
Princes Phillip and Alexander are The Official Nemeses ™ of The Bears
Arthur – Phillip and Alexander have a different philosophy than I have. While we are all wild and free in spirit, I realize that it is not licence to run amok like they do. Forget about wearing my country’s backpack, there are hundreds of countries including allies which actively prohibit Phillip and Alexander from even setting foot in their country – diplomatic passport or not. They are as welcome as a skunk in a henhouse even in Jericho’s New Vegas or Thrawnland.
DB – How do you keep them in line.
Arthur – (Laughs) The best punishment is to make them face themselves. (Grin) There are no mirrors in their palaces or their spaceship. That reduces me from being a prime target of their brattiness.
They mind Barry a lot. I think when they were assigned to being janitors in the Vatican, they realized Barry is not one to get mad at them.
DB – What about Laurentia?
Arthur – It is part of UT politically now. The people are of a similar bloodstock, it is part of the UT shadow artificially pried away by forces centuries ago. The people may want to keep their nation state but unfortunately, Imperial policy said it would not be, therefore – and it now is part of UT – and we support that policy and decision.
DB – Would you have done it? Annexed Laurentia?
Arthur – What ifs and shoulda coulda woulda can fill books. I am sure Icarus or Barry may write an alternative history if I don’t as a fantasy novel. I am cautious but I am not part of that decision making body or advisory.
DB What would your advice have been?
Arthur – I do not have that full classified information. I was not fully informed at the time. I would have wanted that information prior to providing my father and his decision makers any advice.
DB – Have you been to Badovia?
Arthur – Once and only once with Dad. I have no desire to visit there again.
DB – What do you think of Badovia?
Arthur – I hope that the Twins govern wisely, capably and moderately. I hope they treat their people well and see to their needs and be good rulers and shepherds.
DB – Is it true you and Barry are soft on Princess Riva of House Corey?
Arthur – She is a nice person whom I wish I could be friends with. She is pleasant with nice blue eyes that Barry talks about a lot. He really likes her soft sweet voice. She and I talked or were together many times but there is no relationship. Her policies alone preclude it plus I was upset when she was involved in the cruel treatment of Glen.
DB – Is it true that you got her freed from being in Ambernite*?
Arthur – A princess of the high blood should not be like a coffee table with mocking pictures. I made my opinions known and they were noted. That said, I was glad to help broker a prisoner exchange. She is a nice girl and I did not like to see her like that.
DB – Do you regret the Battle of Duluth?
Arthur – No, it was for the right reasons to defend my home. Jacques, Pierre and Guy were invading with an insane amount of troops and we did a rear guard action to hold them back, buying for time.
We could not let them get settled or be able to get enough forces to do a breakout. We could save the port or the old town but we made them fight, block by block, street by street. (sigh) My poor beautiful city was a smouldering pile of rubble by the end. Even this office was gone. Guy sacked it personally and then lit it on fire for spite. He never liked me much.
DB – Riva?
Arthur – I believe Guy would have been rougher with me. When I was under his control, he did not hurt me except when I defied him. But he was not kind and did not like me. He saw me as my father’s son and my eyes were a source of anger to him. Yes he may have resented Riva being nice to me.
DB – UT is a highly organized lawful place – How did you deal with the General Staff and the other generals and Field Marshalls.
Arthur – I have better ideas and know the city better than they do from Malus. I told them what I needed and when it showed, my friends and I deployed it. One Major who was a close friend worked his way up to Field Marshall through this and rightly so. He would not want me to mention him in public but he knows he deserves that and more for his critical and important role.
But with the Generals and Field Marshalls, I still am the Emperor’s son. If I was right and they defied me, Well…. (pause) If I wrong, I would probably get in trouble, get yelled and spend a few months with the Twins (yuck face). However with my city in peril, I did not care. Simple as that.
DB – You were made a Field Marshall in your own right and have a strange command role after that. You were critical with Kluge at the Battle of Galveston.
Arthur – I failed. They were everywhere. I did not stop the raid on Mallus the capital. I was trying to keep the armour from getting a beachhead which would have been worse.
DB – You drove them out and back in the sea.
Arthur – Yes, but even a small raid has immense propaganda value.
DB – In the Imperial Family – you are nicknamed the Lazy Bear or the Lazy Polar Bear of the North
Arthur – I do not go shopping or adventuring as much as many of my brothers. This has made me seem like a stick in the mud. I do like adventuring once in a while, usually in good weather and with less risk. I also want to make sure I am not breaking any local laws if I can help it. I am engaged in my own private avocations and thus am doing other things than being active in the Imperial Administration. I doubt many of the senior bureaucrats and general staff would really want me poking my nose with their different satraps and in their departmental realms.
They called me lazy when I played war games with my friends. Strange how this old armchair bear was able to use it when it was needed. (chuckle) Once someone a few centuries ago criticized how I did things and did not follow the Imperial Protocols. I offered next time Corwin invaded, to check all protocols and seek the thirty seven and a half permissions requirements, sign-offs, reviews and co-signings rather than fight him.”
DB – You are the last of the lawyers.
Arthur – Apparently so, the bar association of UT was dissolved 888 or so years ago and there are no more lawyers. Some people are trained in law help sell houses and small businesses – however the profession wasdissolved by Imperial Decree #2-348-D. And His Imperial Majesty has said on many times he has no plans to repeal that decree.”
DB – Should he?
Arthur – UT is the Imperial Vision and as such one must learn to accept and work within the Plan for the Empire.
DB – If not?
Arthur – One hopes one is comfortable with having a warmer drier climate with capricious new friends and their kids.
DB – What of the Borstal? How horrible is it? We heard about the recent ordeal that the Twins put Prince Gustaf through. Riva has expressed outrage and said it was directed at her.
Arthur – It is in the esteemed wisdom of The Imperial Person that all the Imperial Family, even Glen, Charles and the Twins, were to test the training programme for 8 years of the 888 in the Imperial High Blood Academy. I will avoid using the Helgram Academy’s nickname for it. “The basic training is standard Imperial Navy. I would have preferred the Imperial Army more as I helped improve its training a number of years ago. Plus I can walk long distances for a long time.
DB – How was it? We hear man nightmare stories. Whole generations of Helgrams are being threatened by being banished to the Borstal. It sounds like a suburb of hell.
Arthur – It is a rough first 6-8 weeks. No question about it. Would I choose to go there, no. Did I need it? Not really. But it was Imperial Policy and even The Imperial Person went and attended this as a cadet student 8 years before us.e got off lucky. We had prepared. I had the entire resources of the training division of the UT army to give me information. I made sure I was emotionally and physically fit. Was it degrading, yes, Is it designed to tear one apart, yes. Does it make better soldiers, the jury is still out but it is used by most militaries in Creation.
First off, while one of the objectives was to provide counter terrorist training to protect ourselves, I had become an involuntary guest of Riva and the Dwarves several times so I was emotionally able to cope. I think the loss of Father’s memory and his numerous past lives combined with the high body count in the two Amber Civil Wars caused him to feel tougher measures were needed to protect his own.
Many times, I will say that my father’s controversial polices, while harsh to many and may be different from my methods, are based normally upon better and well meaning, heck I would say altruistic motives.
DB – How did being with the famous other bears help. I heard you say that your brothers helped get you through.
Arthur – I was in the brat pack (chuckle) – While Barry and I originally hoped to be with our gaming buddies Icarus, we ended up staying as the first wave of the family. Our team was nicknamed Trouble, composed of all four Bears, the Twins, Charles and Glen.
I am close to my brothers, especially Barry and to have us all together with the Commandant being the Emperor himself made it easier, though harder. Barry wanted to set a sky high bar because of who we were and Glen egged him on. While I have a healthy ambition, I was not concerned about setting some legendary level of performance in my father’s experiment. While everyone had demerits, apparently I ended up with a few more than others. It caused some strain at times as well as a profusion of polar bear sticker on our wall posters. Luckily my cooking skills are far better than the rest and when I looked after meals, it was very good. Glen could burn water and there is a reason why Rupert stays in lower technology realms. (chuckle)
Was it beneficial, I acquired new skills that I probably would not seek on my own. Were they useful, probably not now. Maybe if I was lost in the woods or had to lead a small squad of militia.
I did laugh when they tracked my research and used it to plug holes in regulations and procedures. Plus they had demerit signs for slackers, lawyers, lazy people, backtalkers and other so-called offenders.
DB – How many times did you wear the signs?
Arthur – (Laugh) More than enough, I was the bad Bear. I am going to call that one an Imperial State Secret though I am sure Glen or Barry knows to the last minute detail.
DB – The explosive growth of the Bear Cult in Creation seems to hit new highs as a fast growing intershadow religion.
Arthur (shaking head) We have no control over it. Barry would like to have it like him as a Pope but there are too many pagan branches who do not have a hierarchy. Not surprising as it first emerged in Other World Empire when Theodore investigated it and did a Bear Dance with them to be nice.
I know that there is a lot of nonsense about forgiving sins, remitting karma and other metaphysical side effects. I do get annoyed when people touch me or ask me to bear hug them to release them from their past life sins. I think Isaac and his therapy treatments would be better for them than a touch of my arm. Buying a Bear relic is really about as effective as a hello kitty button or Thor hammer. It may be nice but it is not going to get people through their issues instantly.
I know in our training period in the IHBA that I had a new set of uniforms every day. Barry bought back all our stuff for his Church so I know his stuff is authentic. I am not surprised he is not saving used kleenexes. Laugh – St. Theodore Bear Parish Church of the Reused snotrag.”
I am surprised that there are not more Snow Leopard Churches out there. (Chuckles) There are political benefits of an Imperial Sect.\
DB – How has life changed for a Bear? I believe with 888 years and a few other fast time adventures you are over a millennium.
Arthur – And I barely look a day over 21 (laugh)
Barry kept track and yes, we all have had our millennium birthday parties. Glen’s was the biggest as he was for a while the oldest though the timelines around him and Charles vary. I think I am the youngest of the bunch.
DB – Is it true you still have so much to do and in your lifetimes, you did not accomplish what you plan?
Arthur – Procrastination can be rather effective. That said, I did read a lot and I have explored much of the growing Lucian Empire of UT including new colonies in space and acquired shadows.
DB – Laurentia?
Arthur – It has been absorbed into the UT empire. It is a part of the UT home shadow and because of that, it was hard to ensure it did not become an easy invasion jump off point. While I have been to Laurentia many times and had many discreet investments there, I feel for the Laurentian people who had a more Matthew form of government. I know Uncle Matthew had bought a lot of investments there and had used it as an informal terminal area for the Antilla Railway – sort of a last stop before UT.
Laurentians are in a culture shock. It took UT 888 years to get to where we are. They are having growing pains and I know it will work out and the Imperial policies have been gentle to them though it would have been better to have absorbed them slowly rather than immediate full integration. I am the incrementalist of a family full of Action Now doers.
DB – What do you do with the military?
Arthur – The General Staff still avoids me whenever possible. I think I have been used as a threat to them a number of times. I am one of the oldest Field Marshals out there. Though I do not seek a Command or posting. With space travel in much of the Empire, the Army’s role has been reduced by this development to the regrettable benefit of the Imperial Navy which controls UT space effectively.
Mainly I give the occasional speech and wear the uniform at Mess Dinners to represent the Emperor. We are fortunate to have no wars on the Home Front.
Arthur – Eliminating that is a service to humanity. No question about it. The hard work of Prince Connor, Emperor Thrawn of the Outer World Empire and others was a great action and proof of the powerful alliance of the Central Powers. The heroic work of Ian, Edward and my father at the Battle of Troutdale where they fought the hordes of Caine forces until the last shard of Caine was put down, was a huge success. Caine was a rabid skunk who caused stink and misery to many of our relatives both on the Helgram and Amber sides. He will die unmourned in this family.
*(Lucius term for carbonite)