The old barge boat with its multiple decks and oarsmen before were not active as there was a good river wind. Sadly to say, sailors of the mighty River Medway do not have the flexibility of their maritime cousins to tack with their sales, hence their strength as an oarsman.
Luckily King Bleys is having the entire river kept navigable. The last war with them Chaosites had all money and men going to be lost in demonland and the rivers started to silt up fast.
Garnath, that huge province of Amber, that rivalled the Amber homeland in wealth and power was once more populous than the great centre itself. For hundreds of miles, it spread out as Amber’s largest duchy and the former Royal Territory. Perhaps it could have become a full kingdom in its own right and eventually taking over the southern half of the Amber continent – however history is filled with what-ifs.
Garnath withstood the King of Chaos, Swayville himself and did not fall in the Inheritance Wars as Amber City did. Oberon fled here to Garnath, with its tradition of autonomy from the days when it was once independent of Amber. Yes, Garnath, all of Garnath was independent in Amber’s early days. Thousands years earlier, Oberon’s younger brother Matthieu, Lord of Ancient Earth and High King of Atlantis, had Garnath as his share of the Kolvir inheritance while Oberon had similar territory on Earth. When Matthieu died in the sinking of Atlantis and the decision to not complete the Ancient Earth Pattern – this sending his father Dworkin into his first wave of madness, Oberon claimed Garnath as his inheritance as the House of Matthieu was extinct after fratricidal warfare. Oberon had made certain that the last assassins of his nephew Gateau were executed ensuring that the house was extinct.
It was Dworkin and his son Matthieu who first built Garnath Castle. It was here too, that the Jesby army of the West wasted their time levelling the fallen fortress. Garnath was pro Bleys and Corwin in the Civil War and threw its gates open to Prince Gaius and Prince Obie among others. In Retaliation Eric of Amber slaughted the garisson after a false amnesty and then busted the gates making the place unable to repel what would have been an easy task – the Jesby army.
For an unknown reason, the Jesby army levelled Garnath using much of their chemicals and their magics and slaughtering half the population of Garnath in death rituals and black magic to see this hated fortress levelled. Eric and the Sons of Rilga allowed it to happen, even going so far as killing Garnath refugees as rebel spies or chaos traitors. Many Garnath citizens were sold by the cash strapped Jesbys to slavery in Chaos and also ironically the ones with red hair to Brandenberg where many became the ancestors of the Brandenberg population mixed with Helgram demons in human form.
Why did the Black Road land in fair Garnath? Was it a curse from Bleys, Brand, Fiona or Clarissa Helgram or was it Corwin’s frustration with Gaius for not obeying him during the civil war. We do not know at this point. We know Corwin’s blinding opened Amber to the Black Road and we know it also weakened Amber.
In short, Garnath was abandoned after the war. While 16 year old Marcus stopped single handed, the army of the West aka Jesby at the border bridge – it did not save Garnath. Garnath was cut off and left to be infested with demon animals and mounts and heaven knows what nasty creatures Benedict allowed to come to Amber on the Black Road. It is an historical note that Benedict allowed the Jesby Army whom he had a pathelogical hatred for to come to Amber to kill Eric and then Benedict with Corwin’s help killed the Jesby Army.
The Corwin regency build a wall around Garnath and except for risky sailing through the Medway to get to southern Amber, devastated by Eric and the Rilga sons retaliation after the civil war, Garnath was a closed, forgotten black land, contaminated and diseased.
Today’s Garnath, thanks to the Garnath Commission of many including Rambault, Dave and Jericho among many other princes is starting to come back to life.
Divisions of Garnath
Garnath Principality –
Consisting of Garnath Castle and the old city of Garnath City, this area is sovereign, In spite of attempts by the Amber treasury to bring it to heel, Garnath Principality remains outside of the authority of the Amber Crown. Stradling the Medway, it allows Amber unconditional use of the river. Garnath Castle is its main centre. Matthew and his teacher/great grand father Dworkin have meticulously rebuilt the fortress excepting improvements and removal of flaws. The great fortress now rises three stories above its site. Rumours are that the basements go on forever.
Garnath City and Castle is a small state with a huge honking fortress and a city of independent bankers with enough land to feed a large population. It is surrounded on all sides by Amber but recent talk is Bleys may sell some land to Matthew to improve the city and make an easier to dillienate border.
Garnath banks are very independent and rival Parys for freewheeling low regulation banking. As long as no one loses money or is against the Sovereign Prince there are no real rules.
Garnath Duchy –
Part of Amber and its largest province. Rumours abound of it being split like Yorkshire was in RL UK. It is growing and the ‘new” Garnath City enjoys growth in spite of not having the firm hand and stewardship Amber City has. There is no Duke of Garnath yet but again rumours abound.
However while the demons and creatures no longer live here, there are rumours are that the Commission either killed them cruelly or recruited them for private service. Much of the land needs resettlement. However as part of the Amber settlement plan, this is an incremental process.