Before the latter half of the 13th century AY, very little was known about the Abyss, save for its existance beyond the Courts of Chaos. Rumor and heresy were the order of the day, but given Amber's focus on other shores, it is understandable that not much thought had been given to the Pit.
The first inklings of the abilities of the beings which dwelled within the Abyss came from chance encounters during the Annadil Crisis (See File # UN-512-13-666, "The Annadil Crisis -- The Opening And Closing Of The Gate Of Revolution"). During the crisis, Queen Corrine of Ember encountered the Abyss Privateer Demetrius while on a cross-universe jaunt, who helped her return to her home universe. It is also known that Annadil had an assistant known as Mamiya, who was an Abyss Initiate and possibly an Abyss Master. Mamiya was the one responsible for dumping the White Knight of Tir'na'nog into the Abyss. It is believed that Mamiya perished on the Second Day of Darkness. Finally, an Abyss Cruiser attempted to assault Amber on the same day -- however, due to flaws in design it was incapable of fully functioning in Amber, and was instead tossed at a major Outsider who was trying to assault the city at the time. They blew up.
Events were relatively placid following the Annadil Crisis, until forty years later, when the Herald and Hel Crisises took place. (See Files # SH-701-23-666, "The Herald Crisis of 1332 AY" and # AB-103-22-666, "The Hel Crisis of 1332 AY") While the Herald Crisis did not have any major Abyssal involvement, the Hel Crisis was perhaps one of the more dire threats the Kingdoms of Order and Chaos have known, given it involved the massed invasion of an Abyss Demon-controlled Pattern/Logrus defined universe. These threats were surmounted, but not without loss of life and sacrifice.
Regrettably, some of this hardship could have been avoided, if it had not been for the actions of Lian of Amber and Avalon, who apparently decided to use captured Abyss Monks to serve as a form of abyssal power battery in an attempt to retrieve the White Knight. Information on what happened between the kidnapping and her demise is still up for debate (as the only people who know what really happened are either dead or hostile to Amber), but the concrete result is known. Abyss Master Namura declared a feud against Amber for an unprovoked attack, and those Masters who might have been convinced to aid the kingdoms during the Hel Crisis joined with him. (See File # AB-101-81-666, "Lian's Folly")
After the Herald and Hel Crisises ended and rebuilding began, the Abyss Monks continued to make attacks against Amber for some time. While none of the Royal Family members they targeted were killed (mostly the ones who were experts in their respective fields, like Drake, Ramon, Nanami, Touga, etc.), over several hundred soldiers of Amber have lost their lives due to the Feud. Civilians who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time were also lost to us. (See File # AB-110-22-113, "The Abyssal Feud -- Encounter Summaries and Casualty Reports, 1332-1412 AY") As lack of progress continued, the attacks tapered off.
Also, an event in New Chaos indicated that Abyss Master Sakura of Catala, the woman who had freed Hel and set the events of the Hel Crisis in motion, was still alive and had been freed of Hel's control upon her death. An assasination attempt on Lord Drake of Catala was thwarted by Princess Jewel, keeping him from being used to effect Sakura's release. She received the position of Assistant Keeper of the Logrus in New Chaos as a result of her heroisim. (See File # NC-010-11-553, "Sakura's Anger -- New Chaos Escape Attempt")
Currently, the state of relations between Amber and the Abyss Monks is that of a stalemate, a 'Cold War' where not much progress has been made by either side. The majority of the Abyss Monks and their Masters have written off the Feud as untenable, due to the lack of progress in leading key members of the Royal Family to their doom. Those remaining (Namura, Sakura, etc.) continue to be a threat, but have (at the moment) been at a lowered level of activity, even given their known desires to escape the Abyss and destroy Amber. Those attempts that have been made have been in the nature of geurella attacks in Shadow, or long-shot attempts to manipulate events to allow release, instead of a concerted effort to harm the Royal Family.
Conversely, attacking these hostile Abyss masters in the Abyss proper would in all likelyhood lead to an escalation of hostilities back to full Abyss Feud levels. Unless a means was found to pay a bloodprice for appeasement (a difficult thing to swallow even at the best of times), or to affect their release so they can be attacked and killed without putting Amber's interests at risk, it is likely the current state of affairs will remain as they are for decades to come.
The past several months in 1432 AY has seen a remarkable and disconcerting upswing in Abyssal activity, both in the Abyss proper and across Shadow. Several major Abyssal operations have been disrupted, while others have been hinted at. Clearly, a storm is brewing, the extent of which can be hypothesized but not fully verified as of yet.
The first signs of this hightened activity was the introduction of a pack of untamed Abyss Kittens into Castle Amber in an attempt to assassinate (not yet known to be) Princess Tohru by the Knights of the Dinner Table. (See File # UN-687-00-123, "Abyss Kitten Roundup and Castle Fatalities") While the group failed in their goal, several castle staff were killed as a result.
At around the same time, while attempting to secure the Sapphic Chalice from the shadow Corinthos, Princess Random and her team encountered an Abyss Monk who was apparently also trying to seize the Chalice (which was a pre-logrus artifact; possibly the reason why they were trying to grab it in the first place). Following an ambush, Princess Kaname imprisoned the monk in one of her trap shadows. (See File # SH-818-45-221, "Gender Bending in Corinthos".)
Major activity began to occur after the Namuro Hall Affair. (See File # SH-818-47-234, "The Namuro/Kanako Hall Disaster".) Taking advantage of the psychic fallout from the incident, a group of chaosians kidnapped Prince Vash while he was asleep. Said chaosians were then ambushed by several Abyss Monks, who dumped the chaosians into the Abyss and then made off with Prince Vash for the Deep Abyss.
At the same time, Luke, son of Atsuko, was manipulated by Abyssal Sakura via Black Tarring to try to infiltrate Castle Amber and kill King Tylor. Captain Special Agent Tomos repelled the attack, along with other members of the Special Agent guard, and captured Luke. (See File # UN-687-01-015, "The Night Of The Crimson Cowl.")
A strike team was assembled to track down Prince Vash in the Abyss; tracking his progress led to another ambush site, where the Abyss Master known as "Dread Pirate Demetrius" had managed to steal away Prince Vash and his spikard gun from Namura's monks (who had done the second kidnapping). The rescue of two survivors allowed the determination of what had happened, and a change of plans was made in order to stop Evil Demetrius from fleeing with Vash to another universe via the Deep Abyss. While the strike team was successful in rescuing Prince Vash and escaping the destruction of the Moloch, Namura's monks, who were also pursuing Evil Demetrius, were not as lucky. However, at the same time, the fact that the Radiant and its crew had engaged Evil Demetrius prevented the sheer number of casualties among the Abyss Monks that could have occured had they attacked without any support (asked for, offered, or non). It remains to be seen as to wether or not this, in the long run, will benefit Amber. (See File # AB-117-82-550, "The Hunt For Evil Demetrius -- Destruction Of The Abyssal Cruiser Moloch")
Another encounter with Abyss Monks occured during Princess Chloe and Princess Nanami Minor's mission to pacify the 'Ascended Master' Saruman, who was also targeted by the Abyss Monks. (See File # SH-820-21-031, "Ascended Master Saruman The Flimsy") Intervention by Princess Motoko, the Bride of the Dragon, prevented any armed hostilities from breaking out between Amberite forces and the Monks.
Soon afterwards, Princess Chloe, Princess Kaname, and Suzuka of Helgram dealt with the aftermath of Prince Telemain's death in the Namuro Hall affair. They investigated his personal shadow, the Smoke Ring, which had come under the control of two hostile Outsider-inclined alternate versions of the current generation of Amberites -- evil versions of Princess Shiori ("Boston") and Prince Telemain ("Telmar"). The two were subdued by the strike team before any evil plans could be truly put in place, though damage was taken due to the fact that Boston had the full range of Abyssal abilities granted due to Abyss Initiation, and Abyssal Sorcery. She is currently on ice in one of Princess Kaname's prison shadows, though the possibility remains that she has since been deleted by the Pattern. (See File # SH-820-43-117, "The Heart Of Chocolate Darkness -- Stopping Mageddon and Its Masters.")
Then the Logruswrack occured. (See File # CH-577-00-666, "The Logruswrack -- Causes, After-effects, and Anticillary Outcomes.") The massive amount of death occuring in Chaos was felt even in the heart of Amber. People with Chaos Blood or Logrus Imprints were affected, as well as those with Abyssal Imprints. As a result of this disaster, the Abyss has been signifigantly empowered. The true impact of this event will likely not be tabulated for decades to come.
One measurable result of the Logruswrack was the release of a sizeable amount of Abyss Monks who were in the Shallows at the time. In effect, the sheer amount of destruction involved in the Logruswrack (both deaths and property damage) served as an Abyssal Release Ritual for those who happened to be 'lucky' enough to be near the Surface of the Abyss. This led to several major Abyssal incidents in the days following the 'Wrack, as groups of Monks were emboldened by the changing balance of power.
First, the Radiant was ambushed by a sizeable force of Abyss Monks while it was proceeding to a rendevous with Princess Shiori, Prince Aburatsubo, and Lady Mataka of Helgram (who also got ambushed). They were able to escape, albeit barely, and then returned with Prince Orien, Special Agent Katherine, Duchess Yumi, and Yomiko to keep the Radiant from falling into Abyssal hands.
In turn, this strike team proceeded to House Helgram, which had been taken over during the Logruswrack by Abyss Master Cydno, the renegade outcast son of Lord Loewen. The surviving forces of Helgram at the time rallied together, and the main house was infiltrated while a fleet action was undertaken to serve as a distraction. Cydno was defeated and prevented from carrying out his intended ritual to attempt to make himself into an Abyssal 'God', and House Helgram was returned to its rightful owners. (See File # CH-577-99-103, "Metal Gear Helgramways -- Repelling The Abyss Incursion At House Helgram") The surviving Abyss Monks have been taken into custody by House Helgram. They have served as a source of actionable intelligence, some of which has been incorperated into this document. Their ultimate deposition is at the discretion of Lord Loewen.
Souls stolen from House Helgram and traded by Abyss Master Cydno were tracked down to four Abyss Masters -- Namura, Feld, Yani, and Shadow of the Moon. In a rather surprising turn of events, the latter three requested relatively innocuous items in exchange for the return of the Souls to Helgram and the Serpent. After double-checking that said requests were as harmless as could be expected, a peaceful set of trades were made by Princess Akari, Song of the Phoenix, and the souls were reclaimed without further incedent. The Souls claimed by Namura were reclaimed by Princess Motoko, Bride of the Dragon, and the Serpent of Chaos. However, given that the items requested by Namura were not innocuous in the slightest, this was probably for the best. (See File # AB-117-83-017, "Helgram Soul Reclamation")
Furthermore, a series of incidents took place after Helgramways was reclaimed, centering around a Broken Pattern Abyss User who may or may not be mentally similar to the now-deceased Lian of Amber and Avalon. The first hint of this person's existance was found when a Monkey's Paw (an abyss artifact used for general message duties and spreading bad luck) delivered a letter to Prince Orien in the mistaken impression that he was its true target, Evil Fate Orien (alias 'Clawkiller'). This artifact traveled Shadow by means of Broken Pattern, and bore a psychic imprint similar to that of Lian's. With this information in hand, Prince Orien, Princess Shiori, Princess Michelle, Prince Aburatsubo, Special Agent Katherine, and Lady Orihime Soletta of Hendrake attempted to trap the evil Pattern duplicate. This encounter did not go as planned, but in the process mental combat was breifly joined with the person remotely Abyss puppeting the shadow of Clawkiller, and again a near mental match was made. (See File # CH-578-01-010, "Clawkiller -- Die Hard The Evil Fate Orien")
At this point, Clawkiller intended to try and assassinate Lady Azalyn of Hendrake, since he did not know that the thwarted ambush was defeated. However, Prince Orien and Special Agent Katherine (with a last-moment assist from Princess Michelle) were able to get to House Hendrake before him, and prevented him from carrying out his claw-killing. In the process, more Abyssal powers were demonstrated via Clawkiller -- it is believed that he either had some measure of Abyss Initiation, or was serving as a remote terminal for his Abyssal "mother" -- but they ultimately proved moot as he was subdued and put on ice. (See File # CH-578-01-010, "Clawkiller -- Die Hard The Evil Fate Orien" and File # CH-587-01-672, "Rumble in Gainax -- Saving Princess Azalyn 2.0"). He has since been remanded to the care of Fuyutsuki, but before the turnover, more intelligence was extracted from him.
The next Abyss-related event was the reappearance of the LEXX, a bioengineered Sidar Superweapon from before the GodWars, which had been adapted over the following centuries to serve as an Abyssal Cruiser. It attempted to ambush Prince Orien, Princess Shiori, Prince Aburatsubo, and Special Agent Katherine while on the first stage of their three-part mission for the Elder Gods. (See File # SH-820-62-113, "Eyequest 1 -- Popping the Eye of the Beholder.") Due to the combined might of their skills, and the fact that the LEXX was being led through shadow by somebody with Broken Pattern power, the ship was easily avoided. It was then led to attack the planet the team intended to destroy anyway, and in the ensuing conflagrations and mass destruction, the LEXX was utterly destroyed. While the possibility remains that someone may attempt to remake the LEXX (as was done with Mageddon), the original has been annahilated, and few exist nowadays with the bioengineering skills to replicate such a vessel. It is doubtful that it would be adapted to Abyssal travel, either.
Also, it was recently discovered that the Abyssal Souls that inhabited the Wu-Royals under Hel's control had been incarnated into sleeping bodies after her death. Their reawakening was prevented by Princess Akari and Princess Nanami before anything could happen to them. (See File # AR-150-22-213, "The Bride Of Darkness -- Dark Uberwald Nights") They are awaiting a safe time for disposal back into the Abyss, given Sakura's continued presence there.
Analysies and Hypothesies
Regrettably, the current situation regarding the Abyss and those within it is still in flux. While the Abyss was majorly empowered by the actions of an Amberite and peaceful soul trades were made between three Abyss Masters and the Song of the Phoenix, thereby hopefully making the Abyss Masters more sympathetic towards Amber (or at least less inclined to take action against us), the forceful reclimation of souls from a known hostile Abyss Master by another Amberite may cause Abyssal opinions to swing back in the other direction, as it could be viewed as a hostile intrusion on the Abyssal territory of a known 'respected' Abyss Master. Without more information and hard evidence, it is difficult to know for sure.
The addition of another player in the game, the Abyss Initiate with a similarity to Lian of Amber and Avalon, is also distressing. Current information and rumor ties her to Namura; her true origins are unknown (and many possibilities exist, especially given the recent difficulties with the Pattern, moreso than would be expected in such a scenario). Until further intelligence is gathered, this 'Evil Lian' will need to be placed in the Hostile category of Abyss Monks, along with Namura and Sakura.
Until further updates can be made, the current state of the Abyss is much as it was before the current year's events -- while most of the Abyss Masters have put aside the feud due to lack of progress on their side in trying to 'punish' Amber, Namura and Sakura continue to be actively hostile. However, a strike against Namura and Sakura in the Abyss proper would in all likelyhood restart the Abyssal Feud. Unless they can somehow be released -- in a manner that does not compromise Amber's interests -- they cannot be struck at casually or permanently.