Telemain Kohl, D.C, Researcher, Conjurer and Trump Artist
"Ah, yes, a spikard. Wonderful things, worthy of study. Until someone tries to use it to hack into your brain, of course."
"A tall, rangy man stands comfortably in mid-air with arms folded, without any apparent means of support. Intelligent hazel eyes look calmly back at the viewer, set in a craggy face under unkempt blond hair; a slight smile gives his expression some warmth. His tan vest is covered with a myriad of pockets, most of them bulging with small items; a few similar pockets can be spotted on the underside of his blue cape, by a careful observer. Behind him on his right side, the light of a star peeks around and through a wide band of chunks of rock and ice, casting occasional rainbow shimmers against a blue sky. This shades away to the deep blackness of space on his other side, punctuated by a glorious array of warm stars. An Oompa-Loompa is grinning and turning somersaults in mid-air, off to one side."
- --Telemain's Trump
Born to Beowulf and Lily in 1334, a year after their marriage, Telemain spent most of his early years growing up at the Museum of Shadow, though he frequently visited Amber with one or the other of his parents. Beowulf, Lily, and his sister Aeris all trained him in various mental skills as he grew up.
In 1347, Beowulf went to Arcadia to forge the Arcadian Patternblades, and took his family with him. Telemain thus spent his teenage years with the Royal Family of Arcadia, a somewhat mixed blessing. His aunt Mutsumi was able to teach him a lot about Trump and Music, and he seemed to get along well with his aunt Jacqui and uncle Thoric; in Dr. Jacqueline, he found a 'favorite aunt'. On the other hand, his relations with Ota Minor and Minako were strongly colored by exasperation, combined with resigned affection in Minako's case and reluctant respect in Ota's. He didn't get to know Makoto Minor very well in the year before she ran off to join the Iron Chefs; given his experiences with the other young royals, he thinks this may have been for the best. A couple of notable examples from those years:
1350: In his first experiment with his Trump Theramin, Telemain managed to send himself (and Minako, who insisted on 'helping') to the Shadow Where The Addams Family Is Real. Fortunately, Mutsumi was able to track them and pull them back out, before Minako leveled the shadow in a fit of panic when Lurch asked to have her for dinner.
1352: Hearing about the extensive system of pyramids in Djelibeybi -- currently being disassembled -- Beowulf asked his son to pay a visit and document them for posterity's sake. Thoric sent Ota Minor along with Telemain, in another attempt to interest him in something beyond the latest weapon designs. This proved to be a mistake, as Telemain's Trump skills are barely enough to keep them one step ahead of the hordes of angry camels, not to mention the irate queen and her assassin husband/brother. Ota kept protesting, "Hey, *my* Mom and Dad were related, why is it such a big deal for you?" Telemain just groaned. He also reconsidered his plan for telling Ota about the airguns his father makes...
As he grew older, he spent more and more time with his father as he worked on the Arcadian Patternblades, finally becoming a full partner in the enterprise. In 1355, Telemain returned to the Amberverse to walk the Pattern for the first time and do some research on the Elemental Patterns, in preparation for the final work of forging. Unfortunately, something happened to him at the tail end of his research, and he went into seclusion for a month. When he came out, he went straight to Panopticon and enrolled, instead of returning to Arcadia.
In the next five years, he managed to get a Masters degree in Sidar Lore through an almost monomaniacal dedication to his studies. He supported himself by working at CAFAM in the summers, which left him with interesting twitches at the words 'Blue Light Special,' but also gave him with a detailed knowledge of how CAFAM works. He became fairly skilled at dealing with Idiots On Patrol. He met Setsuna for the first time, as he and Setsuna and Yomiko defeat an invasion of the Panopticon Feast of Saint Swivin by Mole People. They are tolerably impressed by each others' skills, and strike up a wary friendship.
Just after graduating in 1361, he decided to test himself by building an entry for the Gondola Games in Venetia. With a great deal of reluctance, he approached Shiori to pilot his entry; much to his surprise, Shiori proved to be at least his equal in ship design, better in some areas, though less so in others. The two of them ended up as partners in designing and running an entry in the 1362 games, which won to everyone's surprise. They studied at the College of Sea Magi for two years as their prize, and ended up with a fair amount of respect for each other. Beowulf found him at the College, through feedback from Shiori to Kanna to Beowulf, and the two reconciled, though Telemain refuses to tell anyone why he ran off to Panopticon.
In the following couple of decades, he spent a fair amount of time studying with various family members and exploring Shadow; details can be found in the [timeline]. During this period, he set up a permanent research lab in the Smoke Ring, a shadow he'd first found when studying at Panopticon and later used to work on the gondola with Shiori.
In 1381, he returned to Amber looking very grim, and spent a few months in consultation with Yumi and Naru before going back into Shadow for another five years. He returned from Shadow this time looking fairly satisfied, with a determined air about him. However, the Second Melnibonian War started almost immediately afterwards, and drew him in before he could manage to follow up on whatever it was he had planned. By the end of the war, whatever tension had been driving him seemed to have eased.
He went back to Panopticon in the next few years to get his doctorate in cosmology, and ran into Shiori again in the Akashan League, caught up in a fairly chaotic incident. And rolled his eyes, before pitching in to help.
Since then, his life has settled down into a fairly regular routine -- depending on what you classify as 'routine,' of course. He typically splits his time between studying in his lab, making expeditions out into Shadow in both the Amberverse and Arcadia, and occasionally being drawn into events with the family in one place or the other. He spent a couple of years down in Chaos to study conditions there, staying with friends he'd made at Panopticon who shared the same interests, but eventually came back to Amber because it 'provided a more stable environment,' in his words. He has published a book, Sources of Power in Shadow, but many suspect that he left some of the most dangerous bits out.
Telemain is now dead, slain by Primal Chaos in the battle against the Hemingway Gang.
Personality and Aptitudes
Like his father, Telemain is known as a gentle and forgiving man, though he is often cooler towards people and more willing to speak negatively about them. Though he also works to keep this within limits; as he has said on several occasions, enemies waste too much of one's time. He is also noted for being able to divert conversations and encounters away from areas he finds disturbing, annoying, or time-wasting. (It's rumored that a few people are close enough to him to get him to open up further.)
He tends to spend most of his time in research, though he doesn't bury himself in the lab all day; he always tries to take meals with members of his immediate family if they're at the castle, and participates to some degree in everyday castle life.
His lack of a romantic life is a puzzle to several people, including his Grandmother Wakaba, who is constantly trying to set him up with one or another of her current crop of female students. While he tolerates this from his grandmother, he can get irritated when other people bring the issue up; if pushed hard enough, he will remind them of who his mother is, and ask if they really thought she would send her son out into the world without at least a solid theoretical background on sex? Including, he adds, the ways in which it can be used to manipulate people? If he gets really annoyed, he'll start quoting from one of Miroku's Kundali treatises, from memory, verbatim, until they go away. Fortunately for all, this happens rarely. He respects Miroku's intellectual ability but not his promiscuity, and often warns him (and the other 'playboys' of his generation) that they're playing with fire and will get burned one of these days. Despite this, he is not down on the idea of romance itself, and can be heard speaking wistfully of his parents' relationship.
Although bed-hopping is one reason Telemain used to argue with Orien, another one raised its head at the start of the Second Melnibonian War. While Telemain prefers peaceful solutions to conflicts, he can and will fight if necessary, and considers pure pacifists to be unfortunately deluded at best. As the flip side of idealism is that sometimes you have to fight for your ideals... He regrets the rift with Orien, and hopes that Orien will recognize the need to defend people before he loses someone else he cares about.
Telemain is a reasonably skilled conjurer, and a reasonably skilled trump artist, and is known to combine the two in a variety of interesting and useful ways. He also knows a fair amount of obscure lore, a lot about Shadow and how to get along in it, and a lot about dealing with Academia and related settings. He is halfway competent at working with the Pattern, but knows much more about it in a theoretical sense than he can put into practical use.
Reactions to others:
- Fuyutsuki: Great-Great-Grandfather is... well, strange, but in a nice way. I like him.
- Gendo: It bothers me, to think how he had to grow so cold to rule Amber. Was it really necessary?
- Anthy: Great-Grandmother is a warm and loving person, knows a great deal, and I wish I could have studied with her as I was growing up.
- King Tylor: Uncle respects people's need to find their own path, and I honor him for it; I wish more people would. I don't understand how he manages it, sometimes... going in to visit him feels like walking into a prison on occasion. I can understand his need to escape sometimes, though with someone like Munchausen...
- Touga: A man with a reputation for being manipulative and sneaky, yet neither Father nor I have seen this from him. I wonder why.
- Drake: I'm sorry I disappoint you, Uncle. But while I honor and respect my father, his strengths are not always mine.
- Van: Courage is good. Linking it to useful goals through workable methods is better.
- Saionji: Alas, he appears to have reaped the deserts of promiscuity without learning the lessons thereby.
- Eowyn: Forgiveness is something often hard to give, but usually best offered. She is a stunning example of both sides of the coin.
- Juri: A good friend of my father's, and someone I greatly respect for her philosophical approach to life. But... Random? <blinks>
- Corrine: Mother of one as close to Father as a sister, beloved queen, skilled Trump artist, kind and forgiving to those who deserve it... I am proud to have studied with her.
- Makoto: Cheerful, a prankster... rather too cheerful at times, in fact, and I wish he would stop playing with Setsuna's mind. Still, he keeps the madhouse that is Castle Amber running, and was of great help to my father's raid on Leng.
- Corey: Alas -- a chance at a new life, and still so much time wasted making enemies. One had hoped he would learn. Still, he really does seem to care for High Priestess Edith, and that says something positive of the man. One hopes he will learn before his other behavior catches up with him, and she decides to drop him forever.
- Nanami: A skilled sorceress and a skilled politician, and a good woman once beyond the old bitterness and pain. I was very glad to see her dancing with Uncle Touga at Uncle Tylor's birthday party.
- Miki: A great man, a great king, and father of two Trump artists I highly respect. I wish I could visit Castle Rebma more often.
- Kozue: A highly skilled naval captain, and someone I try to stay away from, as I have no wish to make an enemy of her.
- Utena: Warrior for justice, wielding Justice, and perhaps the best possible sister for Grandmother Wakaba. There comes a time when you must let go of the past, though...
- Wakaba: Grandmother, I love you dearly, and you have taught me much. But please... I will find love on my own, eventually, I hope; please don't keep embarrassing us both.
- Vash: A good man, and I know he means well. But drinking establishments are not something I find entertaining, nor is getting drunk. I will admit discovering some good singers on some of the expeditions he dragged me along for, though; thank you, Uncle.
Spouses of the Elders
- Yuriko: A good match for Uncle Tylor. I hope they can have children some day; I think a child would be good for her, and vice-versa.
- Suu: Bubbly, energetic, and seems to have a lot of fun building things with Sis. I am surprised she ended up with Uncle Touga... but it may have been something like the way Mother managed to make Father realize he loved her. <laughs>
- The Red Knight: A solid defender and a good father to Aunt Kanna.
- Nabiki: I hardly see her to know her.
- Tsuwabuki: Armies are not my field of knowledge, but he seems to do his job well, and he is good for Aunt Nanami.
- Madoka: I don't visit Castle Rebma enough to know her well, but she seems like a good person and a good musician, as represented in her daughters.
The TAMD Generation
- Keiko: Occasionally hot-tempered and tricky to get along with, but a good woman who obviously loves Uncle Ramon. I don't know why some people call her a gold-digger.
- Michelle: I am vastly surprised that she has not been burned by her proclivities, though obviously she seems to enjoy that lifestyle. And she and Damask do care about their 'students', and seem to try their hardest to take care of them.
- Mikage: Unnerving. Highly intelligent and with a sharp tongue I have no desire to experience, he nevertheless seemed to get along well with Father at the end of the Herald crisis.
- Nagisa: It's hard to believe he had a shouting match with anyone, even Lucien.
- Ramon: Gentle and kind in the way the truly powerful can afford to be.
- Shinobu Major: I'd imagine life becomes an easier tactical problem when one creates fewer enemies.
- Shizumaru: Life has not been kind to him since the beginning of the Herald Crisis... and I would not inflict Bust Rimururu on my worst enemy. I think.
Spouses and lovers of the TAMD Generation
- Damask: The infinite variety of Shadow makes it not just possible but inevitable that you will run into some very odd people, if you travel much. Yet he is good at heart, and like Michelle genuinely cares about his students.
- Atsuko: I don't know her very well at all.
- Gabrielle: I've met her a few times when Father and Aunt Kanna get together; both like and unlike Sis.
- Inaba: I am glad Shinobu Major was able to find a loving and supportive husband like him.
- Rimururu: She deserves plaudits for putting up with someone like Bust Rimururu. It's sad, though, to see old friendships be sundered; I wish things hadn't worked out this way.
The UnS Generation
- Beowulf: Father is a great man, and I love him dearly. I don't think he learned the lesson of the boarding school quite as well as he thinks he did, however.
- Demetrius: He is close to great-grandmother Anthy, and to Aunt Juri and Aunt Corrine, which speaks well of him. But the Abyss... well, that makes me nervous, with good reason, considering my father. Though I admit wanting an Abyss Kitty, if it turns out anything like Grandfather Travis' friend.
- Jacqueline: It was interesting, growing up with the various Jacquis in Arcadia. Queen Jacqui's a sweet lady, and Dr. Jacqueline was an inspiration in many ways.
- Kanna: Father's closest relative, in all but technicalities, and I literally can't tally the hours we all spent together before Father brought us over to Arcadia for the first time. I was fairly shocked on my return to see what her daughter had grown into... not like her mother at all.
- Kentaro: Uncle Kentaro taught me a great deal about Conjuration, and some useful things about dealing in society... but if the objective was to get me to be more outgoing with women, I'm afraid they picked the wrong teacher.
- Kuonji: <laughs> No, I don't believe the rumors about Father and him. Her. Whatever. It's easy to get confused, considering how assidiously asexual she likes to act. It's hard to believe she produced Setsuna in the first place, though not hard to believe Setsuna's skills given that she did produce him.
- Moonshade: I was surprised when she studied with Father, though I know I shouldn't have been; she was an artificer of the Valar before she came to Amber, after all. I still tend to think of her more as the warrior than the builder, though. She makes me nervous whenever she starts spinning the tale of moving Pinata to Beleriand, and laughing -- I never really saw anyone, after Deirdre brought me there the first time, but... am I never going to live that episode down?
- Motoko: She seems to have mellowed a great deal since the Herald crisis, when Father said he always had 'foot-in-mouth disease' around her. I highly respect her skills, both diplomatic and magical, and am in awe of what she has accomplished for the universe as a whole, but I usually feel uncomfortable around her.
- Mutsumi: Father always thought of her as a sister, and I can see why -- there's something inherently loveable about her. She taught me so much about Trump and music, I don't think I'll ever be able to repay her.
- Naru: Brilliant, beautiful, always striving to improve herself -- what is there not to admire? And she helped me out when I needed it badly, for which I shall be forever grateful.
- Nausicaa: I don't see enough of her to know her, which I regret; she is often grouped with my father, Aunt Corrine, Uncle Tylor, and Uncle Ramon as one of the nicest people in the family.
- Shinobu Minor: I never knew her younger self, but it's amazing who she's grown into -- powerful and skilled, without letting that make her arrogant.
- Sumire: The quintessential aristocrat, with all that implies.
- Thoric: A good and powerful man, something now recognized by all. He's a good ruler for Arcadia, and I've always enjoyed the times I've spent there as a result. He has vastly greater reserves of patience than I could manage, to deal with his family's children.
- Vice: Father doesn't hold a grudge against her for their trap during the Herald Crisis, so I suppose I shouldn't either. And she has devoted herself to the welfare of Amber after, and deserves to be taken on what she has done now.
Spouses of the UnS Generation
- Davros: I have high respect for him as a person, and for his skills. I will admit, while I have high respect for all the Quartet's members, together I find them rather unnerving, more so than the Trio of Arcadia.
- Lily: Mother is far more perceptive than many will give her credit for, and sent me 'out into the world' with a wealth of good advice. I only wish I'd taken her advice to heart before I was burned.
- Mitsune: Aunt Mitsune... I'm not sure how to deal with her. She and Mother were very close, and are still close, and she can be fun and warm and a good person to be around. And then she will pull off some prank that makes me tear my hair out and disclaim any relation, or start pestering me about expanding my horizons, and I start twitching.
- Ruka: A solid partner for Aunt Kanna, low-key but respected.
- Aburatsubo: A decent man, with a good heart. I'm sure. Who needs to learn that no means no.
- Akari: <softly> Love is not dead, Akari-san, else you would see it.
- Asuka: An exceptional lady, with exceptional military skills, backed by an exceptional temper. Whenceforth comes your anger, lady?
- Chloe: <taps chin thoughtfully>
- Deirdre: Flakey like a butterfly, though I admit some envy of the number of disciplines she's managed to study. Has trouble focusing... but when she does fix her mind on something, WATCH OUT. <shudder>
- Hanajima: Yes, you are a Good Witch. <bows respectfully>
- Haru: A man who has found his balance, and has managed to do much more with his knowledge of the Patterns than I have. I respect that.
- Jewel: A woman who I respect more than not on her own merits, who manages to inspire violent anger in other people I like and respect. This presents a problem.
- Kanako: You will never be respected until you become something more than an imitation, niece.
- Kaname: A strong-minded woman, in every sense of the word, and my skills at Trump pale before hers. I greatly admire the way she blends Trump and Sorcery so smoothly, and makes it look effortless. Some day I hope to be as skillful. She has a temper, but I can understand that... and do not envy her position as Crown Princess. At all.
- Kurz: Ah, yes. Singer-turned-soldier. Going to Graceland?
- Kyou: Anger like that serves nothing. Learn to harness it, instead of giving it the reins.
- Makoto Minor: Didn't really get to know her before she ran off to join the Iron Chefs, haven't seen much of her since. Though she seems to be the most sensible of her siblings.
- Melissa: Warm-hearted woman, and a skilled leader, though I don't know her well.
- Minako: Bright, bubbly, almost impossible not to like, even when you know she is about to cause you immense trouble. Under no circumstances should you allow her to 'help' you with an experiment, or even watch from a distance closer than twenty meters. Perhaps further.
- Miroku: A highly skilled writer. Who needs to find a broader range of things to write about, before his indiscretions catch up with him. I admit finding the dynamic between him and Captain Uotani quite interesting, and even hopeful.
- Allen von Munchausen: I suppose I have some connection to him, from the time we both won Golden Tickets. The thought makes me nervous.
- Nanami Minor: Highly competent hand-to-hand fighter. Makes more enemies than almost any three people I could name. Wasteful.
- Nanbara: Hm. The Primal Wiggle?
- Orien: First I thought he was going to be burned by one of the women he picked up off the street. Then I thought he'd lost his mind and was willing to let fall that which he valued. He was a good man once. Hopefully he can be again.
- Ota Minor: Highly talented fighter, strong and skillful. But it's best if you can pull him out of a trump gate just before battle is joined, and stuff him back in right after.
- Random: Trouble. Talented, very much so, but trouble.
- Setsuna: A question for you to ponder -- how is it that he manages to do the correct thing in the end, so many times, against all rational expectation? Perhaps his Cone People obsession is merely a mental focus for whatever Power he uses to divine the proper course of action. <pauses thoughtfully> Or perhaps not.
- Shigure: Interesting man. Much depth to him, though a little too fond of practical jokes for my taste.
- Shiori: Ah, cousin. You're quite skilled, and I must admit enjoying your singing from time to time, but why can't you be more serious? One of these days, you're going to flirt with the wrong person and get yourself killed.
- Sousuke: A man highly skilled in his area of focus, which is unfortunately rather narrow. Still, a man of iron integrity, something highly valuable in the heir to a Great House.
- Tohru: Child, you are a true beacon of light, the dreamer who shows us the better way. Be strong, and the universe will reform itself around you.
- Tomos: Dedicated, courageous, and skillful. The perfect older brother, and the defender Tohru deserves.
- Uotani: Immensely strong, performs her duties for Amber with notable distinction, interested in learning and willing to work at it. Unfortunately dyslexic with regards to sorcery. She seems to do well enough with power words; perhaps she should try conjuration? I'm sure Grandmother Wakaba would be happy to teach her. <blinks> Just so long as Grandmother doesn't try to set me up with her; I doubt either of us would enjoy the experience... and under no circumstances should she train with uncle Kentaro. Scares small children, but only the ones who deserve it.
- Violet: Swift, graceful, polished, deadly. In some ways, almost more my sister than my aunt, as she combines Father and Mother's best qualities in a way I've never been able to manage.
- Yomiko: Dear aunt... I think you will surprise many people who fail to look beyond your library. (Although perhaps you don't need to surprise them with something out of Miroku's works. Trust me on this.)
- Yuki: Calm, controlled, except when Kyou is around. I find it hard to get a handle on him.
Telemain usually carries around innumerable devices in the pockets of his vest; they change from time to time, but he almost always has his portable Theramin with him. This is a hand-held device, consisting of a grip and a looped metal tube about six inches long; moving one's hand through the field around the loop creates varying tones. He has grown quite skilled in its use over the years, at times almost seeming to play it like a stringed instrument as his fingers 'pluck' at the field; he rarely performs with it in public, however, as the Theramin is not an instrument with a large built-in audience.