Gérard's ElderMania Setup
Before ElderMania began, there are a few things of importance you should know...
Julian Trumped me one afternoon, seven weeks ago. He seemed to be calling from the Amber dining hall and told me that Julian wanted to meet with me and Random. He explained, with a high and mighty look down his nose, that we have an "audience" with the king in three hours, and would appreciate me joining them in the Blue Room, a comfortable sitting room. Julian seemed to be in an unusually good mood. I found Julian’s attitude amusing, it is a side of him that I rarely see.
When Random and I arrived in the Blue Room, we found Julian sitting in the most comfortable chair, with an opened bottle of wine. He held a half filled glass in one hand and offered us a glass, letting us pour it ourselves. There was fire burning in the fireplace, and a closed book near Julian about skiing. I wait until Random takes a seat, then I pour us both drinks; handing a drink to Random. I take my drink to a nearby chair. Once seated, we began speaking of current events around Amber, at sea, and in Arden. I listen closely to them both. We chatted for about an hour on these things, more of a report than a family gathering.
As the talk died down, Julian finally told us his news. "I'm leaving in a month's time. Where I'm going is of no concern. It has been too long since I was away from the duties of the Arden... and Amber, and I need some time off. I'm putting Gristan, my second in command, in charge of the Arden. If any problems arise, short of Arden burning down, I told him to contact one of you." Julian placed a Trump on the table, "Here is a Trump of him. I will be gone in one month."
I pick up the Trump of Gristan to examine his features, careful ‘not’ to activate the Trump. It shows a rather unremarkable man, except for the uniform of an Arden ranger. He has sandy to brown hair and brown eyes, and a nose that looks like it lost two too many bar fights. I recognize the artist's style as that of my daughter, Mirima. I can only guess that Gristan is a ranger in Arden, he has not been to any meetings that I attended. As far as ‘I’ knew, a man named Trimalec was Julian's second in command.
I hand the Trump to Random, deciding to let ‘him’ keep track of Gristan; I will be busy enough in Amber. It’s good ‘not’ to be king sometimes. Besides, I’m not particularly curious about events in Arden… yet. When asked, I told them of my observations in Amber, including the illnesses in Amber. Julian may have been aware that I have been very busy combating this ‘situation’. He listened with no expression.
Random studied it himself for a moment, careful not to activate it. He calmly passed it back to me. Turning to Julian. "I hope you enjoy yourself. There are a couple of things that I would like to add, however. First off, Gristan will make an in person report to Ge’rard once a week, at Ge’rard’s convenience. Secondly, he will bring along a written report that Ge’rard can pass on to me with his notes from their meeting.”
Julian steeples his fingers in front of him, looking at Random. "You know yourself that the Arden is day's hard ride from Amber. If Ge’rard is to Trump Gristan through, he would still require at least a day to return to the Arden. . . a day I'll not have him waste. If you like, he can send one of the younger men with a report, though I'd expect a couple of meals, clothing, a place to sleep, and change of horse in return."
Julian stretched his long legs out, crossing them at the ankles. "As for written reports, I'm not even sure Gristan can read or write. You see, in the Arden, literacy isn't a requirement for employment. Not that I hold anyone back who wishes to learn. Even if he could, Gristan's days and evenings will be full enough without having to add to them. He is, after all, taking over my duties. Of course, there are those in the family who think I do nothing but sit on my hands all day out there," he adds with a cocked eyebrow. "If you want written reports, send a secretary or scribe, and I'll have Gristan dictate to him or her. I haven't the manpower to be wasted."
I take the Trump reluctantly, knowing I'll be stuck with more responsibilities than I have time for. I suggest to Random, "Gristan and I can pass a scribe back and forth through Trump. We would need to provide Gristan or the scribe a Trump of me, so the scribe can get back when the work is completed. Like Gristan, I will be too busy to traipse through Arden every week. I would, however, be happy to make time to coordinate and deliver reports for you."
When I finished, he took a sip of wine (which is one of Bayle's better ones, thought not the best) and said, "If you felt I had anything to add to your research, no doubt you would have contacted me before. My plans stand. If you want to Trump me, Gristan knows how." Leaving, unsaid, that he won't be accepting calls.
Random. "Thank you Ge’rard, for joining us this evening. I know how busy you have been. Could you excuse Julian and I for a few minutes. I have some other things to discuss with him." He doesn’t make any movement to leave. He knows that I will excuse myself.
Julian nods to me, with a slight smile.
I get up and sit my drink down, smiling. "Have a pleasant vacation, Julian." To Random, "Good day, My liege. I will be in the infirmary, if I'm needed." I close the Blue Room doors behind me. I stop at the Great Hall to grab a bottle of wine, a platter of meats and cheeses. I take it to the infirmary, so I can begin a full day of research. I 'hope' I somehow misplace Gristan's Trump, but I place it in my deck for safe keeping anyway.
Two days later, Julian was back in Arden. A month later, he left on Morganstern.
Known Location of characters:
Bleys, when not in Amber, is in his own estates, AKA ‘The Air Ranch’ and is often accessible by Trump. Time and distance vary from Amber; regardless, I have been in touch with him occasionally. I keep him up to date on news in Amber, I enjoy our talks. I seem to be the main source for news of Amber for my siblings.
He has been on enforced vacation, these last few months. He has solicited my advice on his gunshot injuries; fortunately, he is quite recovered at this point.
Corwin is out somewhere in Shadow. I ‘believe’ we have patched up our differences. We were both working for the same goal, the preservation of Amber. I... ‘doubted’ that at one time and was prepared to kill him. I learned that it was Brand, who was the enemy. I remember charging into that dungeon to rescue Brand; then nursed him back to health, after he was stabbed by Fiona. Then Brand dared - the unthinkable - the unforgivable. That has changed things, ‘much’ has changed. Corwin proved himself and we had a reconciliation. Then he went off.
Corwin is reachable by Trump and does accept contacts. So far, I have resisted the urge to ask his opinion about the illnesses and disappearances.
Random is staying in Amber.
Llewella is staying in Rebma.
Benedict is around.
Fiona is off studying somewhere with Mandor.
Mandor is off studying somewhere with Fiona.
Flora is around.
Dworkin is around.
Cleveland is around.
Merlin is in the Thelbane or at the Royal House of Sawall.
Arnon, Flora’s son:
Arnon is around.
Corona, Random’s baby daughter:
Corona is in the castle with Random and Vialle.
Phillip Emrys, Fiona’s son:
Phillip Emrys is a handsome young man with a thick dark mane and striking blue eyes. He is usually found in the company of his pet husky Hercules. He has been legally recognized in both Amber and Chaos.
Rourke, Bleys’ teenage son:
Rourke tries to stay away from people as much as possible, spending time in the library when he's at the castle, and resisting all attempts to draw him into family gatherings. He sits quietly by himself off in a corner when forced to attend, usually with a book, and resents interruptions. At first, I was worried he might be a second Brand in the making; but after watching him for a while, I decided that he isn't really antisocial, just painfully shy, and no doubt feels eclipsed by his father's presence. (I know the feeling--in days past, before each of us developed our own means of being noticed, Bleys always made us younger brothers feel awkward and dull by comparison.) He's smart, and good-looking, with the trademark coppery hair of Clarissa's crew, and a rakish smile not unlike his father's--on the rare occasions when someone manages to coax it out of him. Which, in general, tends to be in quiet settings when Bleys isn't around.
Llarinae, Llewella’s daughter:
Llarinae, in her 30’s, is a very busy person, and always on the move. She is a figure skater and she loves the snow. She is a private but not a quiet person, more of a risk taker. I first met her when she was in her teens, in Rebma. She’s now taller than Llewella. She is slender and willowy, with pale green hair and hazel eyes. She’s an RN and likes to help people, a trait that I like in a relative. She may be the most helpful to me in this crisis.
Brinna, Caine’s daughter:
Brinna is usually on her ship Emerson.
Drake, my son:
Drake is in his home Shadow with his mother, Ellewen.
Thaine, my son:
Thaine is in his home Shadow.
Mirima, my daughter:
Mirima is in the castle with her mother, Mayra.
Odin, my son:
Odin is on the flagship Unicorn.
Drawn by Dworkin:
The Great Hall
The Castle Infirmary
Joe, the Head Infirmary Intern
Gristan, the Arden Ranger
Drawn by Mirima:
Lord Danesh, Captain of the Castle Guard
Drawn by Brinna:
Brinna (a self-portrait)
Llarinae, Llewella’s daughter
My flagship, Unicorn
Rear Admiral Madready
CPO Ian MacDougal
Now begins ElderMania...
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