I don't have much to say about myself.  I'm here.  (laugh)  Despite all odds.  I do my job.  Again, despite all odds.  (smile)

        Seems that even once out into the myriad of Shadow, I remain myself -- kind of the strong, stupid, quiet type.  I try to understand all the... *shit* that is going on around me.  Try to do the right things.  Try to help people.  But even though I seem to be getting better at the 'phenomenal cosmic powers' game -- I still feel pretty clueless.  So I figure it's better to just shut up, then to open my
mouth and subject the world to my lack of clue cash.

         And I stick with the things I know.  Experimental blacksmiths tend to blow themselves up in short order.  (laugh)  So I guess I'm a real conservative when it comes to cosmic powering.  But I've made a few things I'm proud of.  Done a few things I'm proud of.

        Otherwise, everything seems just... well, an incompressible mess to me.

Bret:

        Also remains Bret once subjected to freedom.  Still brash.  Still self-focused.  Still willing to listen to reason -- *occasionally*.  (laugh)

        I'm honestly kind of surprised that he's stuck around Nicholas and me for as long as he has.  I thought that once he had the means to be free of our... rather serious miens, he'd be gone!  But I guess Bret has figured out which side of the bread is buttered.  Shadow is just chock full of *real* big baddies.  And he's figured out that he's not gonna take 'em on his own.  So he keeps up the
'united front'.  At least as much as he can. (smile)  Course it may just be a case of the evil you know... (laugh)

        Still find myself liking the bastard though.  Don't know why.  Probably because we both like to get *in* there and get dirty.  Most of the others around us are reeeaaallll thinkers.  Bret and I are doers.  Not always smart doers.  But doers none the less.

Catherine:

        An interesting person, once you get her cornered.  But you *do* have to get her cornered.  (smile)

        Given room, Catherine falls into this... ennui.  Real lackadaisical about life, reality and everything.  But once cornered with a series of questions or pinned by someone's intense focus -- poof!  You have a volunteer and a tour guide and an expert and a fighter.  Go figure.

        It's a fascinating change really.  Though she's uncomfortable with the active facet of herself.  She'll squirm the whole time she's 'on'.  But she's there and interested and caring.  The rest of the time, it's 'yeah, whatever'.  I wonder what does that to a person.  That showing interest in or passion for something is embarrassing and uncomfortable....

Jenna:

        Jenna of Corriliane and I have parted ways.  For the longest time, I feel that I have *tried* to like Jenna.  *Tried* to help and comfort her.  *Tried*... well, just to understand her.

        I'm done trying.

        She is a candle in the wind.  She thinks with her heart -- a fine trait in an artist.  But Jenna doesn't moderate that with her rationale.  Her passions lead her from one position to the next without reason or rhyme.  One moment you are her dearest companion, the next her bitterest betrayer.

        Someday... someday, I hope Jenna comes to understand the difference between someone who gives her whatever she wants and a friend.  But when that day comes, it will already be too late for me.

Mara:

        Ah, the elegant and mysterious Ms. Mara.  Or at least that's what she'd have you believe.  (laugh)

        (smile) Mara... I think that Mara has just graduated from high school and found herself in the large and rather intimidating adult world.  Now, she did go to the *finest* Academy for Ladies.  And *does* have an excellent education into the nature of the universe.  But it hasn't smacked her around enough for her to really appreciate life yet. (laugh)  Chock one up for the school of hard knocks I graduated from.

        Mara's pretty dang clever.  And *very* resourceful.  But... she tends to freeze at the decision making moments.  Or hesitate when too many options are offered to her.  Something we, unfortunately, have in common.  At least we also have in common a willingness to see the usefulness in another person's ways.  (grin)

Nicholas:

        My cousin and my King.  Nicholas.  A private man and a focused one.  And one whom I'm proud to... (laugh) serve.

        When we first met -- with no memories of who we were -- Nicholas asked if I would serve him.  I told him to stuff it.  Later, *much* later, Bret called me a 'servant' of Nicholas'.  And I told *him* to stuff it.  The difference is -- in that length of time, Nicholas and I have learn many hard lessons about servitude and loyalty.  And about what it takes to survive in -- me -- and triumph over -- him -- a world set to destroy you.

        I've watched him grow from an ice cold manipulator to a man of human heart and strength of purpose.  I've seen him learn how to help himself by helping others.  I've seen him earn every ounce of loyalty and respect that I have.  In short, I've watched Nicholas become a King.  Instead of someone who steals a throne through lies and betrayal.

Orsin:

        I still haven't spent as much time around Orsin as I'd... like to, I guess.  The two of us are rather uncomfortable and awkward when we're together.  We come from backgrounds *just* similar enough for us to know one another.  And *just* different enough for us to completely misunderstand each other.  We unintentionally say things that hurt, and our assumptions are false.  We recognize that the universe has lined us up to be enemies -- something neither
of us wants.

        Other than that (laugh), Orsin seems a fine young man.  Honest, caring and he at least *attempts* to do the right thing.  But I don't... know who the person behind his eyes is.  There *is* a person there.  *That* I can see.  But I don't know who he is.... (sigh)