The Kingdom of Amber
The Kingdom of Amber consists of the Royal Precinct composing the Royal Palace, the City and Harbour and the Seas of the Shadow of Amber and the various lands held in fief by the Nobles of Amber in Arden, Garnath, the Kolvir Highlands, Cabra, Genesh and Katanga.
The City of Amber.
The City of Amber is the size of Singapore: roughly 640 square kilometers. It sits on a coastline stretching south and north west from Amber City, sea on the east side, land on the west. Highlands and mountains fill a narrow angle from Kolvir back along the NW coastline. The River Osien comes from the West through the Forest of Arden and breaks into two arms one flowing straight down close to Kolvir and into the southern end of Amber Harbour the other turning south and paralleling the coast through the Vale of Garnath.
If you come up the southern coast you are in the clear for a long way then have to fight straight up a stone cliff, though you can devastate the port. You could come through Arden, and if you make it you still have to fight up a hard slope. From the NW it is hills and mountains, so not great travelling terrain for a large force, and then there is still a final rise to fight up and the best walls of the city.
The key geography in Amber, apart from the Pattern of Amber in Amber Castle, is the city harbour, which is ideal. The nobility are active in sea trade, which is at least as prestigious as land ownership, pays better, and is more significant in terms of Pattern Initiated Amberite patronage.
Another important site is the Lighthouse marking the Great Southern Shadow Path to Cabra. Sea trade is vital to Amber.
The Royal Palace.
Once the Palace might have been a defensive structure, but it is now obviously primarily residential. Expansion and remodelling of the outer areas of the Castle have made the Palace more decorative and less military in aspect as well as providing more chambers for a variety of social and functional purposes.
The Palace is surrounded by a large wall which contains it as well as a considerable space of Gardens. The Gardens were expanded at some time by the removal of a second defensive wall that use to exist between the Castle and the Outer Wall. Several remaining outbuildings mark the line where the second wall use to be. These outbuildings include the Stable, Garrison and Smithy. While the creation of the Gardens has come at the expense of the removal of an obvious physical defence they have been carefully crafted to provide a useful manoeuvring space for troops defending the Palace. The same corners and crannies that provide secluded spaces for private conversation also provide cover and concealment for defenders.
The Palace has five floors above ground. The Ground floor is mostly meeting and greeting rooms, small rooms for Palace functionaries and some work rooms. The First floor has the Great Hall and Throne Room where many official functions are held, along with several galleries, smaller halls and dining rooms and the main Kitchen. The Second floor is mostly residential, with suites kept for visiting dignitaries and other guests. Those of Oberon's Grandchildren who wish accommodation can probably find a suite on the Second floor. The Third floor is more accommodation and is largely taken up by Oberon's children. The King's apartment is on the Third floor as is his private Kitchen and Bath room. The Top floor is family work spaces. It contains a gymnasium and weapons practise area, a small infirmary, a magical laboratory and several storage areas and a few empty rooms. The Roof has an area for practise with ranged weapons as well as a roof garden and a pergola.
Five towers reach some distance above the roof and are primarily defensive in nature and while they have been remodelled with the addition of some decoration they remain primarily defensive. Some have been used at various times for different purposes with most of the Elders taking over tower space for short periods of time for private purposes.
Below ground there are many levels and sub levels providing storage, work spaces and quarters for servants as well as cells for valuable items, prisoners and of course the Pattern Room.
Amber City is divided into two parts, the High City which is located on top of Mount Kolvir and is protected by a wall of varying height and the Low City which is at sea level. The High City is where the rich and powerful make their homes as well as being the location of major ceremonial sites and buildings. The Low City is the commercial half of the city and developed as a convenient place for people working in the Harbour to live and conduct business. While it has developed some nice suburbs and has several important and imposing buildings it also contains the roughest and lowest precincts.
The Kolvir Highlands
Running North West from Kolvir are a line of highlands that are wedged between the sea and the Forest of Arden. They are held in fie from the King of Amber by four Barons and are known for their fine fruit orchards and vineyards. The steep cliffs of the coastline make fishing difficult except at Baylesport at the North end of the Highlands, a some times stopping over point for ships travelling via the Northern Shadow Path.
The Kolvir Highlands also contain two important places, the Grove of the Unicorn and the Stair to Tir na No'gth. Of lesser importance are several tombs, particularly those of Corwin, Eric and Deidre.
The Forest of Arden lies in the valley of the river Oisen as it sweeps from the far west to the sea. On any map of Amber it appears as a rough oval about 500 kilometres long and between 50 and 200 kilometres across and lies between the north west highlands that end their march to the sea at Kolvir to the north and the Vale of Garnath formed by the southern arm of the Oisen to the south. The Forest is Prince Julian's exclusive domain, infringed only by a few orchard holdings on the forested northern hills.
In places well established roads allow the Forest to be crossed in comfort at good speed, travellers wishing to pass onto other places not being hindered unless they mean harm to Amber. These roads are always guarded, although unobservant travellers may not see the Rangers watching them pass. The Rangers can pass news of persons trying to cross Arden silently and at great speed, making it almost impossible for unwanted travellers to cross the Forest unchecked.
Other trails lead deeper into the Forest and can be followed for months without passing the same tree twice. Julian and some senior Rangers can use these paths to cross the Forest much faster than normal physical travel would allow and it is rumoured that they can even exit to forests in other Shadows.
Generally Arden follows Amber's style of European flora and fauna and follows the same cycle of seasons as the City. However in the deep byways and backways of the Forest any type of forest from alpine to jungle can be found, in all seasons and stages of growth. These back woods are also home to more exotic mundane wild life such as dire wolves, giant bears and aurochs and mystical nymphs and dryads.
The Forest is home to a dispersed population living in small villages and hamlets. Some of these are near the main roads, particularly at cross roads and fords or ferries. Some are hidden away deeper in the Forest, not marked on any survey or census, some recalling only younger days when the Kingdom was first settled. From these villages the enlisted forces of Julian's Rangers are drawn, often serving only near their homes, the best being formed into the familiar Ranger Patrols that guard Amber and provide assistance to lost travellers.
The Vale of Garnath is a region south of Arden approximately 50 kilometres wide and 200 kilometres long. It is a low land that lies between a high escarpment to the west and the sea to the east. The south arm of the river Osien runs practically straight down the middle of the Vale before turning 90 degrees and heading to the sea.
The Vale is held in fief by the feudal vassals of the King of Amber and contains the greatest concentration of such feudal holdings in the Kingdom. Eight Dukes each have a castle and a small town and sub let some of their lands to sub vassals. Generally there is only one level of sub vassalage with higher ranking nobles under a Duke holding larger or richer parts of his lands.
The lands of the Vale provide agricultural supplies of a tremendous quality rather than quantity, insufficient to feed the entire populations of Amber and Garnath, but supplying the upper classes and setting the basis for some agricultural trade. The Western Escarpment is mined for precious minerals and gems and the costal villages harvest the bounty of the seas, greatly supplementing the food sources available, particularly to the lower classes.
Settled early in the exploration of the Golden Circle as a source of timber for building a navy and as a forward base for further expansion Southward.
Cabra is a large temperate fertile island about the size of Sri Lanka, about 65,000 Sq kilometres (approx 150 km wide and 400 km long). It is held in feudal fiefs by 6 Dukes who answer locally to a Regent appointed by the King of Amber. Most routine matters of administration are dealt with by the nobility. Where matters rise between them or cross over multiple land holdings they can take matters before the Regent. The office of Regent is totally at the disposal of the King of Amber and has been used to reward supporters (US ambassador to England style), to provide experience to developing administrators or progeny, as a sop to progeny and to properly run the place during a time of need. It is rarely given to a noble with land holdings in Cabra, but it could be. The Cabran nobles are required to give feudal military service to the King of Amber. Many do so by providing ships and officers for them rather than land troops, but some Cabran nobility maintain the tradition of providing land troops.
Cabra is a well established and well regulated adjunct to the Kingdom of Amber. It has three large harbours with associated ship yards for building and repairing ships up to the largest that are used in the Golden Circle. Inland it's fields and forests provide large, high quality and easily harvested supplies of timber, fruit, grains, meat animals and spices.
Once a great Matriarchal power, Genesh clashed early with Amber over Amber's expansion of it's control of the Golden Circle and was thoroughly conquered and it's society all but destroyed. The end of that conflict saw the native society decapitated down to the lowest class of peasant, removing all traces of the levels of the society that had benefited from the Moon Queen's reign. Noble families from Amber were given land grants in Genesh along with strict powers and directives to squash any returning traces of the Moon Cult.
Several temples could not be destroyed without removing the entire Shadow, which would have been inconvenient, and were placed under the guardian ship of local nobility. When this proved insufficient a special force, the Knight Wardens of the Moon Temple was formed to take the responsibility. These Templars were chosen from volunteers and built around a core of veterans who had fought the original Moon Riders and the Weirmonken. Priest/Mages of the Unicorn were also included and over the last 600 years they have combined into a sect of warriors with some specialised magical powers.
Geneshan nobility consists of 8 Counts who hold their lands in fief directly from the King of Amber. They may chose to grant lands to sub vassals, but not all do. Certain powers of Justice and Administration are devolved to the Chancellor Regent. Typically the Chancellor Regent has been a semi hereditary role with the title passing through several generations of one family before being given to another, at the King of Amber's whim. All the Chancellor Regent's but one have been male.
When the previous Chancellor Regent died without male heir it was assumed that Eric would give the title to another family, but he declared the succession of the Chancellor Regent's daughter. This caused much consternation, particularly when Eric gave her greater than usual powers of Administration. There were many rumours, but few facts. When she began styling herself Queen Regent of Genesh the Templars withdrew their support and many of the noble families distanced themselves as much as possible. A bout of sickness requiring several months seclusion was the last straw and coalition of the Templars and several noble families moved to remove the Queen Regent. Few foresaw the lengths to which the Commander of the Templars intended to take this coup, not only deposing the Regent but trying her for lewd and corrupt behaviour and burning her at a stake.
Genesh is a land of wide grass lands, rolling hills and small mountain ranges perfect for raising a variety of animals for meat, hide and fibre production and these are it's main exports. It is approximately 1,000,000 sq kilometres in size, and is roughly a square approximately 1000 km on a side. It is bordered by a southern coast line and high mountains to the north east and west.
Is a large rich and varied continent, while it's coast has been explored and charted large regions of it's interior remain mysterious. It is rich in animal, plant and mineral resources as well as being the home of much untamed magic and powerful spirits.
Amber has established two colonies, in the Riverina and the Cape. The Riverina is a large river valley with many magnificent and mysterious ruins in the north of the continent. The Cape is a fertile area on the southern tip of the continent. Other areas are the homes of tribes and a few more organised native political units (Sheba, kwa Zulu, Masai, Berbers) of African and Moorish styles. Sea Shadow paths run to Cabra and Greenhouse (both near Riverina colony). The Katanga colonies are largely, tho not excitingly self sufficient and provide many exotic exports of all sorts.
The colonies are lands held in fief by 6 Counts, three in each colony, directly from the King of Amber. Until recently the colonies were insufficiently developed to required any level of sub vassalage. A spurt of growth in the last 50 years has seen the colonies expand significantly, although they did suffer during the Patternfall War, from both Chaos attackers and action by the native Kingdoms.
The Shadow of Katanga is the largest in the Golden Circle, a massive continent which Amber is only slowly spreading it's control over. The two Amber colonies both claim about 500,000 sq kilometres of territory, but very sparsely populated outside the main centres of development. The growth over the last 50 years has pushed settlements out to the periphery of the colonies to take advantage of and control sites of particular resources and importance.
On to Amber's Social Classes.
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