Once, Ember was the fifth of the Patterns, home to a civilization inside Amber's sun ruled by Queen Shayla, and known only to Fuyutsuki and King Gendo I. Then Skippy the Logrus Squid (aka the Ravager Beast), ate it in his never ending quest to eat all Fire Patterns in the year 495 EY, catastrophically damaging the Fire Pattern's Final Veil and devestating the kingdom, leaving nothing alive. But, in the year 1292 AY, during the Annadil Crisis, Queen Corrine redrew the Fire Pattern using the Demi-Jewel of Fire, and restored the land, reshaping it by her subconcious will to combine elements of her past and Ember's past. Five hundred and thirty years passed during the months of the Crisis in Amber time, and the Kingdom of Ember was reborn.
The year is now 570 CY (1332 AY to those 'downstairs' in Amber), and the City in the Sun still thrives...
The first thing anybody notices about Ember is the heat. To say that it's 'warm' is an understatement. The hottest summer's day in Amber would be considered 'temperate' to an Emberite. A heat wave in Ember is something to be feared by those with lower heat tolerances. On those days, folks either tend to stay indoors or use cooling spells.
The second thing visitors notice is that there is no 'sun', per-se, in the sky. There is no day, there is no night; no moon or stars, but twenty-four-hour unrelenting Light. This is hard for many non-natives to adapt to, but accomidations have been made over the centuries for those whose circadian rhythms cannot adjust rapidly. Many of the hotels and public residences in the kingdom (as well as the residential areas in Castle Ember) have automated shutters (either magical or mechanical) that close when 'night' is supposed to occur. There is a sky, and clouds, but they are not usually enough to produce major shadows on the ground.
The third thing noticed is the fact that water is a precious resource in Ember (even moreso after Rebma's unfortunate dissapearance). The majority of the populace drinks stable plasma instead, which also forms the keystone of Ember's biological cycles. Emberite plants do not photosynthesize in the usual manner, instead they absorb the energy directly from the plasma that's absorbed by the roots.
Fire-based creatures can reach Ember normally through shadow-shifting. All others must use the Pyricorn Threads (such as the Fire Highway) or burn up and perish. Ember IS inside Amber's sun, after all. There is a high dragon population in the mountains and badlands, and can often be seen sharing the skies with Ember's air fleet.
Ember operates under the same general physical laws as Amber, Rebma, and Arden, which precludes the development of High Technology as found in Shadow. However, certain features of Ember's geography (and the natural inventiveness of Emberites) have made it possible for there to be a higher industrial base, which is discussed in the entry for Carlson Citadel. A technical brief detailing some of the products of this labor is under development, and can be found here
Castle Ember's general layout is the same as Castle Amber's, so visitors from Amber do not get easily lost while touring it (usually). However, the architectual styling of the castle leans heavily towards a Middle Eastern 'flair', wide hallways and narrow columns, with minarets and onion-domed towers. There are also more windows than might be expected for such an edifice, reflecting the Emberite appreciation of light in all its forms.
Some of the noteable features of Castle Ember, from top to bottom...
Ember City is laid out in a fasion analagous to that of Amber -- a grouping of one hundred Wards arrayed between the lower slopes of Mt. Vesuvius and the shores of the Gulf of Ember. Unlike Amber, there is less of a physical division between the 'City' and 'Port' sections of town , or at least none that are very visible. The richer, more affluent, and administrative wards are gathered closer to Castle Ember towards the West, while the rougher, more 'homey', and workman-oriented wards spread towards the East, around the Gulf of Ember.
Ember City's architecture is a curious blend of Amber, Moroccan, Middle-Eastern, and French styles. Many wide boulevards cut through the city, defining the Ward boundaries, while smaller streets twist and turn through the Wards themselves, legacies of Ember's original design. However, the events of the Second Devestation (510 CY) required massive amounts of reconstruction over the following twenty years, and provided the government an opportunity to make the city plan more efficent.
Ember's cities and towns are a lot more tightly packed and clustered than those in Amber, leaving a lot of space between major cities, as the population orients itself around natural oasises and signifigant landmarks. While their relative placement when compared to Amber is the same, the populations are markedly different, and the cities of the Desert of Darah have always been considered a part of Ember proper (as opposed to Amber, where Harad once was a seperate kingdom).
The cities of Ember, from north to south, east to west...
Ember is a great place to vacation -- if you're interested in the epitome of all deserts and rocky places. But there is beauty in the austerity, of life thriving even where you think there would be none, and various places that are 'must see's for any tourist.
These landmarks include:
Much like Amber's Golden Circle, and Rebma's Coral Circle before its demise, Ember has its own 'circle' of trading partners and allies known as the 'Lava Circle'. Ember also maintains trade and diplomatic connections with various Golden Circle kingdoms, but those relationships are more on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the Lava Circle kingdoms include:
Ember is also a trading partner with several other noteable space-based Shadows, such as Vulcan and Jyurai. It has trade relations with the City of Brass, but not much else, as Queen Corrine tries to downplay her Amberite ties given the traditional Efreet hostility towards anything Amberite (especially given her blood-ties to Princesses Hiko and Juri, who stole the Heart of Flame during the Annadil Crisis).
A brief timeline of Ember's History can be found here, with analagous Amber dates when known.
Some thoughts on early Ember are found here.