Vestiges of Chaos
The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is an alliance composed of some of the Shadows most proximate to Amber. Some define this as a series of military and trade treaties, while others say that the Golden Circle is a privileged status given to certain shadows near Amber with which Amber holds regular commerce. Both descriptions have merit.
The children of Oberon have forged semi-permanent Shadow paths to these Shadows so that talented and trained individuals can move between them without the ability to Shadow Shift. This makes regular trade possible, for those who know the trade routes to follow. Additionally, these paths allow the Golden Circle shadows to trade with each other, in many cases.
The Golden Circle signatories are Begma, Caradoc, Cinnibar, Deiga, Lamorak, Lyonesse, Parthelion, Srathclyde.
A low tech, moderate magic kingdom ruled by spite and intrigue, that closely resembles the feudal society of early northern Europe. This shadow is full of sharp hills and lush hillsides with good agricultural lands. Begma produces some of the finest wines in Shadow. The Bayle’s of Amber has a proprietary interest here, and has intermarried with the ruling families. In addition to wine, the Shadow produces citrus fruits and vegetables. Their heraldry is a sword pointing downwards.
Caradoc is a barbaric fiefdom loosely ruled by Pendragon Onslow. It’s generally dark, cold, and rainy there. Caradoc governs nine subordinate Caers by force of arms. Their major export is surplus moderate tech military equipment. This shadow has no gunpowder, but has an abundance of primitive explosives, swords, armor, siege machinery and soldiers. Their heraldry is a blue lion on a silver field.
Trump: The rains have almost stopped enough to see the forest and the rivers beyond the lichen encrusted, dark gray stone castle in front of you. Several rough-clad men in furs and thick steel plates of armor with huge broadswords eye you warily.
The Sultanate of Cinnibar is a domain of high intrigue, ruled by Sultan Beshamet with help from his Grand Vizier, Azrael. They export fabric, steeds and drugs, and their weavers are legendary for their craftsmanship. They also produce very fine horses, but they are guarded jealously. The shadow itself is a sweltering combination of desert and jungle. Marrakesh is the capital, but Samarkand, and Cairo are also very large. Their heraldry is a lone palm tree under a crescent moon in silver on a black field.
Trump: The moon makes the fine horses running in front of the desert stronghold in this picture seem to move and flow like water. Their manes are flying behind them like flags, and their tails are held high and proud. The colorful striped tents around the silvery palace are filled with tall people in sand-colored robes. There is light coming from the open doors of the palace.
Reina Zaragoza ruled this monarchy until her untimely passing. However, her spirit has returned to rule it. This has caused a great schism between La Iglesia de Santa Valencia and the Lich of the Reina. However, Oberon’s trade contact was La Reina, so he has supported her, sometimes to the disappointment of the other nobles. Deiga produces an abundance of citrus, olives, wine, wheat and various animals. The Deigan navy is quite strong, nearly a rival for Amber’s navy. Their heraldry is a gold and red crown on a while field.
Trump: You see a pleasant plaza with a view of a hazy blue-gray sea off to one side. Brilliant sunlight illuminates the colorful costumes of the folk as they eat a late-afternoon meal under shaded awnings and listen to a group of musicians.
King Percival of Lamorak is a weak king who governs a constitutional monarchy from a rather unpretentious manor at Coventry Court. Lamorak has good mercenary troops for export, and one of the finest universities in the Golden Circle. Lamorak is also a richly agricultural Shadow that produces an excess of temperate fruits and vegetables, cattle, poultry, and pigs. There is almost no magical power in Lamorak. Their heraldry is a field of apple trees with red and gold apples.
Pontiff Humphred the 5th of Lyonesse is a vain and decadent man that rules a vain and decadent court in a vain and decadent kingdom. (Somewhat reminiscent of the French court before the guillotine.) His Kingdom exports wines, liquors, perfumes, gourmet cooks, very finely constructed clothes, carriages, and furniture, furs and other luxuries. Their heraldry is a silvery pennant with an elaborate white fleur-de-lis.
The Magehold of Parthelion is a peaceful shadow of mages and their servants. This shadow also has an abundance of gold and other precious metals. This shadow is a huge range of dry desert mountains. The mages build their estates into the sidewall of huge gorges. The servants of the mages mine for metals and water. Very little technology works there. Their heraldry is an orange pennant on a black field with a double sunburst.
King Baldric of Srathclyde rules a nation of rude and brawling clans. Much of his time is consumed keeping them in line. Srathcylde has numerous shipyards and excellent shipwrights, which form a sizable industry and foreign trade. Unfortunately, it leads to a real problem with clansmen taking to the seas as pirates. The Ffolk of Srathclyde are at once a dear ally and a true threat to Amber. Their heraldry is a golden ship and a cloud blowing a following wind on a blue sea.