- Civic Buildings
- Education and Mage Schools
- Cafes and Restaurants
- The Topaz
- Helgram Nightspots
- Hotels, Inns and Lodgings
- Theatres and Concerts
The Kingdom of Amber is a highly centralized state. The main seat of power is Amber Castle which is located and surrounded by Amber City. Amber City has the Upper Town, Mid Town and Down Town or port/dock areas, and is divided into 27 Wards for administrative purposes. The main thoroughfare is the Concourse, although new entertainment districts are growing up around the City.
There is a small section of town on the edge or gates of Amber Castle, known as Castle Town. This is similar to Tower Hill in London or the Town of Windsor at the edge of Windsor Castle, and is physically cut off from Amber City by the rising altitude. Castle Town is more where support services for the castle work out of. Outside of the back stairway, by which Corwin and Bleys tried to storm the castle, the castle and the land around it are only accessible from Castle Town.
Government of the City of Amber
The head of the Amber City government is the Lord Mayor. The current incumbant in the post is Artur Acker, son of the previous mayor, Ian Cushing.
Next is the City Clerk, or Chief Exective, who is the head of the ‘paid service’ and is responsible for the organisation’s efficient management. The role also involves giving councillors strategic advice on policy-related issues, drawing on the experience and expertise of the organisation as a whole. The current incumbant is Arthur, son of Lucius of Ultima Terra and Dara (aka Arthur Bear).
The Court of Common Council
The Court of Common Council is the City Corporation’s primary decision-making assembly, and usually meets every four weeks in the Great Hall of the Guildhall. Its main business focuses on the reports of the committees and commissions it works through, and questions and motions from members Guild Representatives.
As well as the Mayor and City Clerk, the Court of Common Council is made up of 80 Common Councillors, 18 Aldermen and 61 Guild Representatives, for a total of 161 individuals. Members of the Common Council are elected by the wards of the City, and each ward returns between two and ten members depending on the size of the electorate.The Common Council meets once a month on the first day.
- The Councillors represent a wide range of professions and City interests and take the major strategic decisions that direct the work of the City Corporation. There are 80 elected Councillors.
- The Aldermen, serve on both the Court of Common Council and the Court of Aldermen (which meets eight times a year and is chaired by the Lord Mayor). In addition, Aldermen act as governors and trustees of a variety of schools, hospitals, charitable foundation and trust with connections to the City. There are 18 elected Aldermen.
- Guild Representatives, there are currently 61 accredited Guilds, and each is allowed to send a representative.
Councilmen and Aldermen serve on the Court of Common Council committees, while Guild Representatives do not. There are two main types of committee:
- Those made up of one member from each of the City’s wards plus ex-officio members (membership due to holding a specific office or role);
- And those made up of members directly elected by the Court of Common Council, plus ex officio members.
The minutes of all Common Council meetings and committees are available for inspection at the Guildhall.
The City is divided into 18 wards and 80 members are elected to represent them, in addition to the Mayor and City Clerk. Each ward elects one Alderman and two or more Common Councillors, depending on its population. Two categories of voters are entitled to cast their ballots in City elections: residents and businesses. All residents aged 25 or over are entitled to vote in City elections.
City-wide elections are held every three years. For Councillors, roughly half the seats are elected at any given time, and the effective term of service is six years.
For the Alderman, only a third of the seats are elected every three years, so the effective term of service is nine years. There are also occasional by-elections and Aldermanic elections in between.
Guild elections follow the same pattern as Councillor elections, but instead of being chosen by the entire electorate, only Guild members can vote in Guild elections.
The Guilds (also known as the Livery Companies) are a combination of governing bodies for their particular trade, general trade associations, and also administer training for the members of their Guild. As such, they play a significant part in the life of the City, both in a business sense, and by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Each Guild has the right to send one representative to the Court of Common Council.
A prospective member of a trade or craft must spend at least seven years learning the basics as an Apprentice under an accredited Master or Mistress. Thereafter, they become Journeymen/Journeywomen (not that they travel that much any more!), honing their skills further, but still under supervision. The decision as to when the student is ready to be elevated to become a full member of the Guild is almost always at the discretion of the supervising Master or Mistress. At that point, the former student becomes a Master in their own right, and is allowed the Freedom of the City.
Very occasionally, if personal difficulties get in the way, a student may feel that they’re being held back unfairly by their Master or Mistress. If this happens, an appeal procedure does exist. This varies by guild, but usually involves the student being interviewed and tested by a panel of three other Masters, who can judge the skill of the student.
At this time, there are 61 accredited guilds, a list of which can be found here.
For want of converting Amber time to Ancient Earth (i.e. real) time, the years of Bleys’ reign (YLKB) are as follows:
1 = 15 April 2012- 14 April 2013
2 = April 2013-14
3 = April 2014-15
4 = April 2015-16
5 = April 2016-17
6 = April 2017-18
7 = April 2018-19
8 = April 2019-20
9 = April 2020-21