The Council Decides

Some questions before the council are:

- Is it worthwhile to attempt to lay further Shadowpaths, and if so, who should lay them?

Vere will not offer an opinion on this matter, explaining that he is insufficiently informed of the difficulties involved in laying and maintaining a path.

Yes, it is absolutely worthwhile. Jerod appears to be spearheading the effort, and could likely instruct his cousins in the methods. A pyramid scheme of learning.

Paige feels it is and she's willing to learn, but would prefer to attempt laying a land path. She's still determined to find Heerat if possible. Also, any ideas on what maintainence is neccessary? A year it might fall apart, but if a Royal smoothes it out once a year, or twice, what's that do to it's survivability?

Unknown. Gerard says that when he laid one, he didn't have to shore it up or smooth it out. He doesn't point out that he's got all of the prerequisites for laying straight paths in spades.

What will maximize the amount of food coming into Amber? Laying Shadowpaths is obviously time-consuming and exhausting, but if in the end it'll get more food into Amber than having her cousins lead ships on trade routes, she's in favor of it. Folly will, however, defer to those who'll actually have to do the work.

That's questionable. In the short term, the loss of one of you is not an insurmountable blow to the importation of food. If the paths can be made more permanent, or shored up easily, it may be worthwhile to lay one every couple of years. If not, they are probably more trouble than they are worth.

While he's willing to do more Shadowpaths, he's pretty sure its going to be very demanding to do...further, he's reasonably sure he can't do it to a place he has never been to before.

He is absolutely positive he cannot do it somewhere he's never been before. It occurs to Jerod it might be easier for him if he started somewhere else and shifted for Amber, but perhaps not significantly -- the ease would be the absolute surety he'd have of where he was going, not a reduction of personal strain. [GMs say: no point bonus on Magic Formula!]

He'll take anything he can get. And now that he's done one path, maybe he can see where he can improve stuff. Though that will be after he's rested.

Jerod is familiar with Bellum and even that was exhausting to do. If others in the family are able to pick up the skill...such as Martin with his impressive endurance, that would be good.

Would the new shadow paths that Jerod or Paige put down help in terms of resettling some of these people farther out?

Jerod's assuming not (subject to the GMs saying otherwise) at least for his paths, which are all over water and lead to Bellum, which is an independant kingdom. Some could emigrate but its questionable if that would help the long term situation, assuming ships were available for the task.

As for the land route, that's up to whether Paige can lay one down or not and whether that's even do-able or not...(ie: assigning territory along a shadow land route). If the path were unstable or needed to be maintained, he'd be leery...a lot of people could get left in the lurch if the path collapsed.

Ossian shrugs: "Do we have any choice? If we don't want to depopulate the city?

"Can you teach anyone of us how to do it, Jerod? I volunteer to lay a path or two."

Yo oh-mighty god-like and sort-of-omnipotent GMs...verdict here...:)

Does Jerod think he can teach anyone?

If so...Ossian's the first test subject...

Jerod thinks he might be able to show someone who was with him what he was doing, and that might help a lot. It's unfortunate that Gerard was unable to come with him, or he might have had an easier time.

What Jerod also thinks is that it will take a person who has more than just trifling skill with Pattern -- perhaps not so much as Jerod, but "I walked it once" probably won't cut it -- quite a bit of force of will to put behind it, and a lot of endurance too. Martin, if his Pattern experience is sufficient, might pull it off. Cambina could not. As for the others, ask around and see what their capacities are ...

Kay...then Jerod starts going through the list (starting with Ossian) and asks to see if they're interested in laying shadowpaths and then asking some questions to find out what they can do - he'll ask based on his own experiences in working with shadow to get a basis for comparison.

Ossian is willing, but: "Yes, I have only seen the pattern once. In Tir."

Probably Ossian is not experienced enough with the pattern to lay shadowpaths.

Having given it a bit more thought (cause that's what you get for waking up before 6am every morning), Jerod will concentrate on verifying what travel experiences people have had - how easy they can traverse shadow...can they find things easily...can they conjure...can they overcome barriers in shadow easily or with difficulty, etc. While the Pattern defense type stuff probably doesn't hurt, he's figuring it would be more secondary in the case of laying paths.

Course, if he's wrong, he just learned something new...:)

Paige doesn't have Martin's constitution, but she does have a little bit more than, I walked the Pattern once... She's willing to try, if Jerod feels she would be up to it.

Jerod's willing to give it a try. In the case of other "volunteers", he's probably looking to see whether it would be better to give instruction or actually show them how its done by laying a path. In that case, he'd have a few of them out of Amber for a protracted period of time...that would have to be run past Gerard and the council.

That would also delay his doing a search for the Pattern...something that he is reluctant to put back too far.

Of course, until he can hand off the Shadowpath job, he's stuck as it is...

There's an effective limit to how many paths he can lay...Jerod's skill with Pattern might be good, but his endurance isn't as high...that's likely to put a limit on what he can do...and searching for the Pattern is likely to be a lot less draining on him than shadow- path work.

- Should we allow further expansion into Arden as pressure to settle there grows?

Considering the recent illegal incursion, Vere feels that allowing further expansion would be a mistake. That sort of behaviour should not be rewarded.

Solange is extremely grateful to have her brother backing her up on this one -- since he is NOT so involved with the Rangers, it sounds MUCH better coming from him.

No. The encouragement to live there was a temporary fix to accomodate the strains of feeding the city. Lucas will encourage the renovation of Amber, and decreasing the population strain on Garnath. The importation of that many people, while necessary and sometimes welcome, threatens to ruin the rural ways of life.

Paige will side with the majority in this one, but personally agrees with Vere and Solange.

Folly wants to hold off a little while to see how the mountain-sheep experiment goes.

That's going to be a difficult one...the fact that there was an armed confrontation despite an existing edict from the Regent means there are other forces at work - those will need to be addressed on both sides (Rangers and homesteaders). Otherwise there will just be more problems.

"If it was not for the Rangers I would say we should expand into Arden. However if we consider that the rangers are what defense Amber has left, we should not at this time."

- What do we do about the Golden Circle ambassadors?

Sigh. The perennial blister. What have the ambassadors been doing with themselves for the past two years?

Mostly acting as representatives of their nationals' interests, even in the absence of trade. And petitioning Gerard to do something about reopening contact with their homelands.

One of the reasons this problem is starting to come to a boil is that some of the embassies are starting to run out of money. Letting them starve is bad, but so is giving them money openly. Gerard is at something of a loss here, as delicate political problems are not his forte.

That might give us some idea on what to do with them. Have any of them been interfering in local politics, for instance? Have any of them petitioned for citizenship?

No to both questions, so far as anyone is able to tell on the former, at least. Petitioning for citizenship would be tantamount to admitting that they can't go home again, and none of them are any readier to suggest that than Gerard is, especially not after Jerod found Bellum.

Vere is of the opinion that it might be better to consider each of them as a separate case, rather than trying to make a blanket policy to cover them all.

There are a couple of dozen of them, and you've found maybe three or four of their home shadows. So you have about 20 ambassadors, plus embassy officials, probably about 125-150 guys total.

Lucas has no interest in touching this one. His attitude is "sucks to be them" but does not voice that publicly.

If some still look to go home, Paige suggests further attempts as parts of trading missions. It worked before. Perhaps send Cambina out again, of course, mentioned when she's not around. She might not like it, but she has the ability that others don't and it'll get her mind off the missing Pattern.

This is what most of them want. If they had their druthers, you guys would all be doing nothing else but looking for their home shadows. Some of them have dropped hints that you're violating the terms of the Golden Circle treaties by not doing just that. Cambina disagrees, as does Paige on a reading of the treaties, but this is the sense of their feeling anyway.

Folly, too, is in favor of considering them as individuals rather than as a group. She'll offer to talk to them, one at a time, simultaneously finding out their hopes/strengths/interests and trying to cheer them up/ calm them down.

Gerard thinks this might be useful, especially since Folly is one of the few Royals with no official status/duties, but would like input from the council before permitting her to do it.

What have they been up to lately? If they're contributing through negotiations and such to Amber's well-being, Jerod recommends leaving them alone and continuing to look for their shadows.

They really can't work for Amber without giving up the fiction (?) that they're going home. So they aren't doing much as a group.

- What do we do about the small number of noble families that are outright failing in the new post-Sundering economy?

Does anything need to be done? It may seem heartless, but we knew there would be some casualties among families unwilling or unable to adapt. The Regent and the Council cannot be seen to play favourites right now, in Vere's opinion.

Solange is glad to have such a sensible brother...

Lucas will base his response off of whatever serves his interests best. I missed this bit, and have no idea what kind of impact it would have.

Paige agrees the best thing to do is nothing. We knew this was an option, we've got to stand by previous decisions.

Folly (who continues to find the class system baffling and stupid) suggests that if they're amenable to a little honest labor, she can put them in touch with people who can come up with plenty of work for them. It certainly won't keep them in the style to which they've probably become accustomed, but they won't starve, at least....

Solange is privately delighted with this approach. She tries not to gloat publicly.

If there's a way that the families could perhaps be absorbed into existing families, then Jerod would look to see if that could be "negotiated"...he'd run this past Gerard to see what he thinks and if its feasible.

One side note - where it is noted that a noble family is suffering because they are lazy, greedy or otherwise incompetent, then Jerod has no difficulty in letting them suffer the error of their ways. For those families that have achieved their status through "honest" labor, who have been loyal to the realm and are failing now because of the Sundering (which was totally beyond their control or their planning) then he is more sympathetic to their cause and will try to help as best he can - put simply, he doesn't like anyone suffering if they're not responsible for it. (just because they're nobles, doesn't mean they didn't earn it).

On the same note, Jerod is also a little more sensitive to the comments of those of his siblings who might take some pleasure in the fall of those from grace due to circumstances beyond their control. For those who are so inclined to find pleasure under those conditions, they're also likely to find Jerod being more than a little bit snarky towards them. His cousins may interpret this as they see fit...:)

Ossian obviously does not care at all.

- What do we do about the ongoing problem of necessary food imports?

What is the current food situation? Will we be able to continue providing for Amber with the current techniques? It is difficult upon those who can take the ships through Shadow, but Vere doesn't see any other options at this point.

Work to establish those Shadowpaths.

Keep importing whatever we can.

More Shadowpaths...more shadowpaths...

Paige will continue to play Little Bo Paige if the intial herds do well enough. Perhaps Brita, coming from a mountainous Shadow has some ideas about stock that could be raised on the slopes of Kolvir, or further down the chain. What about larger scale fishing, or perhaps even whaling?

After his latest travel, Ossian suggest mussel farming in the sea outside Amber. "That seems easy; just hang a few ropes from floating barrels, and you get tons of mussels on them. And they taste good too. The mussels, I mean."

I'd like the usual updates on what people are doing, plus information from Reid and Brita on what they would like to do and where they would like to fit in.

For the year, except for the usual trade travel (and recovery from that one shadow path trip), Jerod spends most of his time in Amber, dealing with such problems as come up or get assigned by Gerard. He does set aside time from his schedule where possible to continue to spend some time with each member of the family in their official function so that he's got a clearer idea of what they're doing and the problems that they're running into - and to see if there are any resources that he has access to that they might find useful (and vice versa...:)

He continues to make the social rounds and is active in every major (and most minor) social events as well as political forums and other events of importance. He is also found spending time at the Diogenes Club, though whether it is for pleasure or business is uncertain (probably both).

At random times throughout the year, Jerod will disappear for a couple of days to get away from it all...most of the time he can be reached (for emergencies only) at a hunting lodge that he owns in Arden - his private retreat. A few times however, he just simply disappears for a day or two...unless someone is actively following him, no one knows where he goes.

With Brita now at the castle, and assuming it becomes noticeable that she likes to spar, he would see if she'd be willing (when he's in residence) to set aside a bit of time every day to spar - it helps to burn off the stress.

Brita will gladly spend time sparring with anyone who is willing.

Martin is also looking for a sparring partner and enjoys the change from sparring with Jerod.

Brita finds that Jerod is amazingly strong and is probably the first man she's met that can match her speed and her quick draw. Martin's not so strong -- if she wrestles with him as well as sparring with a blade she can take him almost every time -- but he's her equal at swordplay, even if not nearly so quick as she. Where he has a strong advantage over her and Jerod too is endurance.

Brita thinks she wouldn't like to be on the opposite side of a serious fight with either of them.

Venesch, the captain of the Royal guard, also spars with her to assess her skill. He is very pleased with what he sees, and suggests to Jerod that Brita work with him to learn about Amber's military forces. Since there has been some discussion of who might lead the Rangers and the Guard in any battle that might come to Amber, an extra Royal with military interests might prove useful.

Jerod would agree with this quite readily. He would also take Brita aside after she finishes sparring with Venesch to let her know that Venesch is interested in this, that it would certainly be of excellent value to Amber to have as skilled a fighter as Brita obviously is...and as a side note that Jerod would appreciate any help she could give his friend Venesch in this matter...:)

Brita's response to assisting with the Rangers would have been a "sure, what do I need to do?" She will also gladly assist Solange and Lucas in gathering info about the dispute in Arden.

Solange rides patrols with the Rangers on occasion. Ostensibly, the Rangers are watching for trouble out of Shadow, but they are really watching for Chaos incursions. To Brita's eye, which is experienced in assessing warriors (even if not in assessing troops), the Rangers are not the cream of the crop. Many of them are older, some have debilities, and a few have been maimed in service, although most of the maimed have support positions like quartermastery. The Rangers have obviously been denuded of much of their strength for the war effort.

Having never been to Amber and only hearing of it from Reid's memory, Brita feels like an outsider, observing what is going on, but having little to contribute. She spends time in the library, searching out histories and ties from Reid's Amber to the present as well as anything that Oberon may have written. She is trying to find her connection to this Brave New World.

If she spends a lot of time in the library, she will make friends with Nestor the librarian, and probably also Cambina and Vere, two of the more regular visitors to the library.

She will wonder down to the docks soon after arriving, looking for a place to work out and thinking that sailors may have set up some kind of boxing facility or gym. Assuming she is successful in this, she may have made some connections (maybe earned some respect?) that could help in searching out the thief in the warehouse district. Brita dispises politics (reminds her of the scheming of her Uncle Loki), but she will make an effort - if called upon - to attend any court functions. (Her player will note, however, that Brita is uncomfortable in a dress. She also tends to judge people at face value and will assume they are generally nice until they show her otherwise. She dislikes gossip as well.)

Brita will be required to attend some court functions. Vialle takes Brita under her wing and helps her find a wardrobe that suits -- probably split skirts -- and teaches her decorum and manners. She may also call on Folly and Paige to help Brita adjust to court life.

With respect to politics and the like, Gerard advises that if Brita isn't interested, she should probably just keep her mouth shut, which will give her a reputation for being smart by keeping her from saying anything stupid. He also suggests that Solange take Brita out for a tour with the Rangers, and see how she does there.

Vere would like to go out on a few trading missions in the coming year. If she doesn't mind, he would like to accompany Solange on one, as he hasn't had a change to spend very much time alone with his sister.

Solange doesn't mind a bit.

When Vere is out of Amber Worth will fill in for him, with aid and advice from Ossian. He continues putting together a cohesive infrastructure for the merchant marine and the Navy; by the end of this year he wants to have an organization that can function as well without him as with him. He is doing his best to make himself redundant. Vere also continues to spend a lot of time in the Library and in discussions with Nestor about a wide variety of topics. He also makes it a habit to spend time at the Naval Club, and after the return of every trading voyage he hosts a party there in honour of the captain and officers of the ships involved. It also becomes standard practice for the captains of a returning expedition to give a full report to the General Committee of the Naval Club on their voyage. Vere also skims a bit of money off the fleet budget to obtain for himself a 30' sloop, which he names "Psyche." He spends at least one day every two weeks sailing by himself, and every three months or so he will take provisions for a couple of weeks and sail off by himself, exploring the coastline in either direction, or just sailing out into the deeps to see what is out there and to be alone for a while.

Paige begins to attend more social functions this year, and is present at Court as often as her traveling allows. As mentioned before, she'll continue to play shepherdess if the council believes it's a good idea. She definitely interested in finding Heerat. Free time is occupied by Music with Folly, Zen Trump with Cambina, Sex with Apparently Nobody, Cards with The Ladies. She also disappears for several days at a time, but Folly can find her if neccessary.

In her leisure time, Folly will happily introduce Reid to her musician friends. Within a week of his arrival, she presents him with a piece of paper listing a large number of pubs, along with what kinds of music they feature on which nights.

Reid takes his time to sample all the available options, noting both the type of music and clientele of each establishment. He also observes the personalities of the various performers before deciding which ones he wants to spend time with.

One of the regular gatherings, sort of a jam-session-cum-community-meeting, is at a tavern called the Pickled Grouse, in a rough part of town. Presumably Reid can get an introduction from Folly into this group.

He presumes to do so.

In particular, Folly introduces Reid to Ever, an apprentice luthier who volunteered his woodworking talents in the service of ship repair after the Sundering. He's the sort of friendly, charismatic guy who knows *everybody*, and he's become Folly's right-hand man in the army of good works.

Martin's poker games are held at a club he belongs to called the Red Mill. Apparently Lucas is also a member of this club. The clubs seem to serve the purpose of giving men of the middle and upper classes places to go that aren't home, there being no internet cafes in Amber. ;) Martin introduces you around at the Red Mill, allowing you to make some contacts there among the wilder members of those groups.

Martin explains privately later that the Red Mill has a reputation for being 'bohemian' and that while many of the member of the Red Mill wouldn't know really bohemian if it bit them in the rear, there are some eccentrics that it might be useful for him to know. He mentions the names of several other clubs, like the Diogenes, to which Jerod belongs, the Naval, to which Gerard and Vere belong, and the Prince's Retreat, which is -- was, anyway -- owned by Paige. Reid might find contacts he makes in such places useful.

Reid doesn't remember anything like this club system from his youth in Amber.

What kinds of connections is Reid interested in making in Amber, besides musicians and barkeeps?

He may take up some students, in either art or music, once he's established himself. He'd certainly get to know those people who could keep him well supplied for music or art equipment or accessories that he may need from time to time... strike up a friendship with the best local luthier; know who has the finest quality brushes and pigments; etc.

Ossian has taken some art students and there is far more demand for his services than he has time available. This will become true for Reid as well, especially as he develops more Royal obligations. In the meantime, it will be possible for Ossian to introduce him around and for him to obtain students in both art and music, many of whom will be young ladies of marriageable or soon-to-be-marriageable age looking to polish themselves for the market.

Ossian does this with pleasure, with some comments like:

"Oh, she's very hard-working and ambitious, but a hopeless case. I gave up."

"You will probably be asked by Lady Thorn to give her lessons. I think she is talented, so she can be a good student I guess. Her mother has some ideas though."

Brita looks at these young ladies with some degree of amusement. She can't understand why anyone would want to "polish themselves" for market. She is fairly certain no one polishes the cattle, although maybe the pigs get polished... Besides studying under Master Reid is more like being melted down and reforged in Uncle Thor's forge rather than something as benign as "polish". :)

Does Reid ask any of his cousins for introductions around their clubs?

He would ask for at least an introduction. While being far from a social butterfly, Reid strives for two things in almost any social encounter: recognition, and if warranted, respect. He's not looking to be welcomed with open arms, but he certainly wants people to know who he is and accept that he's going to be around for a long while.

Jerod will offer introductions for the Diogenes club if Reid is interested. Reid will be certain to get recognition at the club (he's a royal so that's a given), and respect from the members will be there as well, though whether it is actually sincere or merely offered because of his station is another matter...:)

Paige still frequents the Prince's Retreat, though much less often than before. She is willing to sponsor Reid for membership, although all Royals are assumed to actually be honorary members anyway, so it's a matter of form more than neccessity.

Vere will ask Reid to dinner at the Naval one evening, and introduce him to many of the members. A main topic of interest will of course be Reid's naval experience and any stories he has of the navies he's encountered in Shadow.

As mentioned elsewhere, it looks like you are getting those introductions made. As part of establishing a permanent presence, Reid will probably want to join a club, even if it's not one that his cousins belong to.

[If Reid wants to join a club not mentioned anywhere else, you can describe it and send it to the GMs for approval, then we'll post it. James and Blake have done so already, although I don't think the Diogenes is posted on Jerod's web site. Blake?]

What kinds of connections is Reid interested in making in Garnath?

Most of his retreats to Garnath are to work on his art away from the distractions of the city. He'd certainly get to know any inn or tavern keepers in the area, and might make polite conversation with anyone who happened to pass his easel while he worked on his landscapes.

There really aren't much in the way of inns per se in Garnath, as there's not enough travel to sustain them. You can sleep in at a tavern or, as a Royal, easily get invited to stay at the home of a local notable, especially if Lucas, Solange, or Martin (who all travel in the countryside) arranges an introduction or sends a letter with you.

Only the local notables are likely to strike up conversation with you. The common freemen and especially (should you encounter any) serfs are unlikely to be comfortable initiating conversation with someone so wealthy as to have leisure to come to the country and paint.

[Ossian's leisure activities in Year Three]
Except for his usual stuff; Helping Vere in the harbour, giving painting lessons and portraiture and architecture, Ossian has learned a new hobby on the ships. Tatoos. By now and then tatooing a few sailors, he widens his contacts at the docks.

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Last modified: 1 Jan 2002