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New Averoigne Successionby Andrew Theisen
One thing that's always nagged at me a bit is how Isidore came to succeed Etienne as ruler of Nouvelle Averoigne post-Wrath (and, later, Henri, then Isidore again). There wasn't every any real rationale given that I recall.
At the same time, being a fan of the d'Ambrevilles and the Amber family of Zelazny fame, I've always loved how muddy the issue of succession AE (After Etienne) would become.
Just for the sake of fun, let's examine the issues, and see what possible scenarios might ensue:
Possible Claimants to Nouvelle Averoigne AE:
Catharine: The most obvious choice, IMO, and the strongest claim, is Etienne's wife. A very gifted wizard herself (moreso than most of the rest of the family), she also happens to be the widow of our missing/presumed dead Grandmaster.
Complications: She's tried to usurp his throne before, and Etienne may have ensured that she cannot do so any longer and had her legally taken her out of the succession. Could be a big obstacle for her.
Henri: Etienne's youngest brother, and the most magically gifted d'Ambreville after the late prince. Also very interested in the throne, very devious, and has a lot of connections in political circles.
Complications: Like Catharine, has tried to usurp the throne before, with fatal consequences. Etienne may have taken measures against him as with Catharine, plus Henri doesn't seem to have many allies within the family to support his claim. Add to that the fact that he is the youngest, and there is at least one other older arcaner brother above him in the running.
Isidore: Perhaps one of the hardest claims to support. Yes, she is married to the eldest male d'Ambreville, as well as a very gifted wizard. Add to that the military might that Richard could bring to her cause, and possibly that of her brother Andre-David (who IMC has his own squad of forest patrols in the woods around Chateau Sylaire- a key factor in controlling Nouvelle Averoigne).
Complications: Richard, though the eldest male, has no legitimate claim due to his lack of arcane ability. Isidore has no direct blood tie to Etienne. IMO, the only way she came to power post-Wrath is through some agreement she/Richard arrived at with either Etienne (prior to his disappearance) or the rest of the family AE.
Charles: A name that never seems to come up in association with the succession, and I wonder why? AE, he is the oldest male arcaner in the family, and would seem to be a natural choice. He is described as being very administration conscious (meticulous, etc.) and might make a very good ruler.
Complications: He isn't quite as powerful as Henri or Isidore, and his sensitivity might make him shy away from politics. (On this last claim, however, I would note that there are many rulers in Glantri who are probably all that closely involved in politics; the barons of Boldavia- who can't go out in the daytime, and wouldn't leave their homes often- come to mind.)
Guillaume: I'd say his claim is at least as legitimate as Isidore's is. He's a blood relative to Etienne (through their fathers and mothers both), and an arcaner. He is also politically active, and with his marriage to Janette Toorden, has ties to the Flaems, which works in his favour. Also, IMO, he could bring some military might to the table- I imagine his and his wife's anti-clerical operations require them to have some sort of semi-militant backing.
Complications: He isn't in the direct line of heir-apparents to the throne (not many are). He seems to be rather abrasive in personality. He'd have to fight to wrest the "throne" away from Camille's side of the family. This could be bloody.
Claude: This one may seem like the longest stretch, but bear with me. Etienne's youngest son, doesn't have any arcane ability. However, Claude is a vampire under the control of Tatyana Gorevitch-Woszlany. Tatyana, in turn, is under the control of her brother, Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany. Morphail has long desired to extend his influence and control over Glantri. AE, what is to keep him from making Tatyana and Claude get married, and have Claude claim the throne for his bride? Not much different from the Richard/Isidore claim, and maybe in some ways more legitimate (due to Claude being Etienne's son). Far-fetched, possibly. But intriguing? I think so.