Letter written by Admiral George Cockburn, Governor of Cape Town, to the Prince of Paris
I have little choice but to ask for your forgiveness: your express orders were to keep you regularly posted about the progress achieved during my conversations with the prisoner in Governor Wilks' custody. I can only admit that I failed dismally; your agent at the place, O'Meara, turned out to have other loyalties, and he was able to suborn those of Wilks' agents closest to the subject of your interest. O'Meara is working for another one of the major European courts, but I was not capable of determining which court it is. I take full responsibility for the decision not to risk contacting you while I was still serving at Longwood: O'Meara might have managed to extend his web of agents into my own services, a risk I deemed preferable not to take, as it might have revealed your reach to have been longer than your enemies think. I will, of course, accept whichever penalties you wish to inflict on me for this failure to contact you during my sojourn at Longwood.
I have taken the liberty to set a small haven up for your Highness, should you decide to send an agent or even come in person to Cape Town to discuss the finer points of my report on the prisoner and/or levy direct punishment. The remarkable absence of any of your kin in the region makes it quite safe for you or your agent to come; given the high sensitivity of some of the information I am keeping for you, it would probably be preferable; on the other hand, my new duties as Governor of Cape Town make it nearly impossible for me to manage a visit to your Highness without questions being asked by the Crown about where my true loyalties lay.
The changes wrought by the past years on the subject of your interest have been remarkable in more than one manner; I will briefly sum them up for your Highness and correlate the changes with any circumstances which triggered them.
His Majesty's government has clearly intended to break the subject's mind for good and set up a most elaborate ploy to ensure they could reach their goal, but they have achieved partial success at best. The subject has no expectations of returning to his former position at any point in the future, and it is quite certain he would not wish to resume his old duties even if he were to be offered them today. The subject's ambitions for himself have been completely shattered; he sometimes complains about the "blatant unfairness" of his treatment, and is prone to retreat into "superb isolation" when he feels he has not been shown respect proper to his status.
However his complaints are always backed by argument; the subject has kept a keen mind and is quick to point out the inconsistencies in some of the restrictive measures taken against him, and even quicker to explain why some of those measures are little more than a display of incompetence.
I will add at this point that many of said measures are indeed superfluous, but the Crown has decided not to take a single chance; Longwood's "wardens" actually have the means and numbers to handle a full-scale invasion. While this ensures with absolute certainty that the subject will not leave his prison alive, the military might deployed around Longwood is also proof of the Crown's disregard for the current political situation in Europe, and could be interpreted as a challenge to any other would-be challengers of his Majesty's Empire.
The subject is, globally, demonstrating complete understanding of his and the world's situation; his mind is, overall, as bright as it was during the greatest moments of his rule, and his belief in the superiority of his people as strong as ever. And he is fully aware that only a precious few people can compare their achievements' to his, and that it will remain so for a long time in history.
What he lacks, now, is the opportunity and the drive to accomplish something new; he has not, and will not adjust to life at Longwood, and is convinced that he will finish his life there - in miserable conditions which are bound to deteriorate an already fragile health. He gives himself three years at most, a pessimistic but rather accurate estimate. I personally do not expect the subject will live more than five to ten years in his current circumstances.
I feel compelled to advise your Highness of my belief agents have to be dispatched to Longwood to counter O'Meara's influence there; it should be possible to have the subject ask for the appointment of a physician who already knows him. This would result in removing O'Meara from the subject's immediate entourage while placing one of your pawns in a much better position to keep your Highness posted on the subject's evolution.
It is my firm belief that the subject can be made to work for your Highness' interests if handled properly, and that your Highness stands to gain much by securing his future cooperation.
Your devoted servant,
Here begins (and hopefully won't end ) a tale which is, if I may say so, mostly Rensslaer's fault: the Prussian Prince has convinced me to try Vicky at last, and the purchase won't be regretted
Unfortunately ( ) this has also brought back an idea for a story which has been trotting in my head for several years - a tale of intrigue and of behind-the-scenes maneuvering in XIXth century Europe, sparked by extended RPG sessions during which I played the role of a rather ambitious character. Some people will have recognized the RPG from the title of the AAR or from the rose in the background; I'll keep it secret for a few posts, until the main characters have been introduced.
This story is going to take us through a game played with VIP:R:0.1 and modified to some extent to take into account all the politicking going on behind the scenes. The style is bound to change from post to post: there will be other "history book" chapters, but there will also be different styles depending on the mood and on what feels like it suits best the story. I'm afraid there will also be gameplay mistakes I won't claim perfect historical accuracy either - the characters and places in this story could all be subjected to, shall we say, unusual influences at some point. In other words, story will take precedence over history
I hope you'll find as much pleasure reading through this tale as I did imagining it. I also beg you to forgive the sometimes awkward English: it is not my first language
There is now a PDF version of the AAR, including a useful lexicon