1873 – Robert had a dream for himself and our children. I will not give up on it in my grief. My husband and I both want our children to have brighter futures than the ones we faced at their age. Such a future can be made, but it will require money, and a good example. Money I could make immediately by selling up to that loathsome German, Viersan, but cutting my losses and running does not make for a good example of fortitude and grit.
I have learned a lot from Robert and from Africa. I will stay here and continue what Robert began.
1882, April – I’ve met an interesting gentleman, Toby Wrexham-Jones, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he has a wife, I would suspect that he is courting me. He is charming, somewhat handsome – in that slightly-worn-out way that seems to come to all of us who spend too long in the minefields – and has taken a great interest in me. Well, of course he has – I’m the richest single woman in Southern Africa. As Dr. Johnson said, the wonder is not in how well the bear waltzes, but that it waltzes at all. Mr. Wrexham-Jones is part of the Bartano diamond syndicate – as am I – and I suspect his interest is entirely related to business. No doubt he wants to make me an offer for my holdings, perhaps try to convince me that I should be closer to my children in England. If that is the case, then I’m afraid he is in for a surprise.
June – It seems that I spoke too soon. I was the surprised
one. The existence of vampires worries me or, I should say, the state of their
souls worries me. Mr. Wrexham-Jones speaks casually of the likelihood of being
condemned by God, and I find that rather upsetting. Furthermore, I wonder if my
own soul is tainted by my association with the Kindred? But it’s too late for
doubts, and I suspect I never had much choice in the first place. Toby is a
persuasive and dedicated individual. Once he set his cap for me, I think my own
opinions had very little do with the outcome.
I hope he will let me take a short holiday, later this year, as I would like to see young Robert and Claire before the brief English summer is over.
1895 – My son is courting a fine young lady of Scottish descent. Her family has a title, but is otherwise no more than middle class in terms of means and lifestyle, which means they won’t look down on my family’s newly acquired status. I’m glad I followed Mr. Jones’ advice of buying that title when the chance arose. The cost was startling, but it opened a lot of doors for my children that would have otherwise remained shut. Mr. R. Wingrove, Jr. might not earn much attention, but Sir Robert, incipient Viscount of Hove does, and I think Claire still smiles every time she’s introduced as “Lady Claire”.
1897 – I have a grandson, Robert Wingrove III. I’m overjoyed and, of course, will immediately establish a trust in his name.
1903 – Rhodes is dead, and Toby has disappeared. What on earth do I do?
I’ll do what I must, to survive. Thank God I happened to be in London when this storm broke. I might still have qualms about my nature and those I associate with, but I’m also ambitious and – heavens forgive me – vain. I can accomplish a lot, and age will only get in my way.
1905 – I have found ‘regular’ employment with Mister Sebastian Moore of the Ventrue clan. He is of an entirely different type than the late Wrexham-Jones. Moore is positively flamboyant in comparison, but he seems to have some competence in manipulating the stock markets. More to the point, he has stated that I will have an almost free rein to do as I will, as long as I am generating a certain amount of money every quarter. That amount is not insignificant, so my work is cut out for me.
1908 –I have watched my family bloom and thrive these past few years. Little Robert has two younger sisters now, whilst he is the picture of good health, and Claire has just married a banker with more acumen, I fear, than my Regnant, although they are having trouble conceiving a child. Unfortunately, this success has made me realize that I must soon do the most painful thing, and convince them that I am no longer with them. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ‘convince’ my children that I am aging normally – even with Mr. Moore’s help – and my young grandchildren will be even harder to fool, I’m sure. Children are so perceptive, after all. I must start liquidating my assets, give the Wingrove Trust one last boost of capital, and then fake my death – probably in the African wilds. At least it will be physically easy to do, but it tears at my heart…
1909 – Moore won’t listen to my advice about the powder-keg that is Europe. So be it. I will put my own funds where I will. I just hope he has enough warning to divest from Eastern Europe when it finally blows up.
1914 – Now he realizes why I invested in those mercury mines in California. God’s truth, I ask you…
1916 – How on earth could he have been shocked by the Bolshevik’s actions? I for one am simply riddled with shame that the King went back on his initial decision to offer asylum to the Romanovs. No good will come of this wickedness.
1930 – How can I feel so relieved and so guilty at the same time? Moore made the same mistake as thousands of others. He became paper wealthy gambling on margin and when the bubble finally burst… he elected to face the sunlight, rather than his creditors. It was stupid of him, criminally stupid. Recovery will be long in coming, but come it will. It’s inevitable. But no, as he did in ‘life’, he did in Final Death – he took the easy way out. And left me floundering, I might add. Fortunately, I have made many contacts in London and Paris, so perhaps this latest search for employment won’t prove too difficult.
1936, March – My regnant has managed to surprise me again. A month ago, George announces that my education is sorely lacking and that he is going to rectify the situation. I have spent the past month in a whirl of travel and entertainments with the most moneyed families in Britain, making business connections and, more importantly in George’s eyes, appraising their collections of fine jewelry.
I must admit that my knowledge of jewelry and the nigh-infinite ways to match a stone’s form to function has been greatly improved by this trip. I have handled the famous Aston tiara (Lady Astor’s maid, Rose, was charming in her dedication to duty and hovered over me throughout) and examined the Duchess of Kent’s collection of rubies most closely. Best of all, though, was the Tower. Handling the crown jewels in the silence of the White Tower, with only George and an apparently unconcerned Beefeater for company was a thrill beyond words. The Star of Africa is truly the finest large stone I have ever laid eyes upon – although I was a little disappointed to learn that the Black Prince’s ruby is actual a spinel.
And it’s not over yet. Now, George and I are steaming are way to America to examine the collections of newly-monied American families – most of which was bought from impoverished Europeans of noble descent. I’ve never been to America before, and I’m quite excited.
How fortunate I am, to have such a kind and generous master.
1945 – How could I have thought so well of George, and he care so little for me? I’ve been cast off, handed over as easily as I’ve seen him pass banknotes following a night at cards. How dare he give me up so easily? And to such a person as Yuri Semeniov!
I would run away, try to make it on my own as I have heard some ghouls do, but both George and Yuri have made it clear that such an action won’t be tolerated. Yuri, that oaf, even went so far as to threaten my family to keep me in line.
How could George do this? After fifteen years, did I mean that little?
Communism is a foolish ideology. Created by idealists and pursued by
hypocritical madmen. However, one of those hypocrites currently has me on a
short leash, so I have little choice but to assist the Soviet state in their
plan to flood the Western market with diamonds. Their intent is twofold: one,
to obtain badly needed hard-currency and two, to strike the economies of
Europe and the United States.
of Europe and the United States.
My particular role is to oversee the exploration of the howling wastes of Siberia for kimberlite pipes and, once found, coordinate mining efforts. The extreme climate will make this a challenge and that, at least, will be interesting. But after Africa and London, this place is hell – a Dante-esque vision of ice and snow. Furthermore, I’m disgusted by the Soviets’ blithe use of forced labor. Stalin is no better than Hitler – and he was more efficient at killing Russians than the Fuhrer ever was, if rumor is to be believed. But I’ve got to keep my distaste to myself. I have little choice in the matter, and must make the best of a bad situation. Besides, I trust the West to be smart enough to counter any clumsy maneuvering by the Russian bear.
1959 - Despite their success, the pressure for the mines to continue producing is growing monthly – cosmonauts aren’t cheap, it seems. Doesn’t the Politburo realize that all DeBeers has to do is stockpile their findings to keep the price up? Certainly the Soviets are getting their money, but this level of production can’t go on much longer. It is too reliant on forced labor – the availability of which has dropped since Stalin’s heyday – and the environmental demands are hellish on equipment. Combine this with the central committee’s reluctance to spend a kopeck more than is necessary on maintenance, and you have an industry that is doomed to failure.
1960 – How lovely. I seem to have been traded off to a new Regnant as part of a game of cards. Well, perhaps I am exaggerating. Yuri, for all his cold standoffishness, was a bearable master – just not a kind, intelligent or likeable one – and his façade cracked enough this evening to hint at the fact that he is not happy to give me up. Well then, he should have thought about that before promising Boons, shouldn’t he?
However, I can’t say I’m entirely enthusiastic about my latest boss. I’ve heard very little about the Followers of Set, and it’s all negative.