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by Andrew Theisen

"So- you are the gentlemen who want to strand me on an island in the middle of nowhere?"

Etienne stroked his long, grey beard thoughtfully as he regarded the three men across the room from him. His eldest son, Jean-Louis, leaned against the door frame of Etienne's office, his muscular arms crossed guardedly. Etienne could sense the tension that lay beneath all the silken finery, daring his father to refuse. The old mage sighed inwardly.

The other two men were just as tense, but in a different way. Etienne judged they were approaching their middle years of life, still quite a bit younger than himself- or his son, for that matter. The one on his left, a balding, darkly tanned man- Gastenoo Longblade- shifted uncomfortably. His companion was a wizard known to Etienne only by reputation, Simon St. Pierre by name, who sat patiently with his hands on his lap.

"I told you he wouldn't be interested," scoffed Jean-Louis. "I am sorry for wasting your time, monsieurs." Though addressed to the visitors, the scornful apology was clearly directed at Etienne- a fact which didn't fail to pass his notice.

"Humph." Etienne shot a gaze at his son, a glare that would make most men cringe. To his credit, the younger d'Ambreville didn't flinch in the slightest. "I don't believe I said I wasn't interested," the prince of Nouvelle Averoigne groused. "In point of fact, I find the idea somewhat intriguing. Please, explain further."

The prince's visitors exchanged a knowing look, and the man on the right- Gastenoo Longblade by name- leaned forward eagerly. "To be more specific, your Highness," he opened, "What we are proposing is a sort of, well, 'game show', in which yourself and 15 members of your close family will be split into two teams, and put on separate islands in the Sea of Dread. There, you will have to work together to provide for yourselves and to triumph in several reward and immunity challenges. After each immunity challenge, the other players will vote one of their tribemates off of the island."

Etienne was nodding as he listened to the proposal, and he let out a small laugh at this last part. "They will have to turn on their own, eh? This already sounds like a family gathering. Heh, heh." He waved for Gastenoo to continue.

"Yes, well..." Gastenoo looked over his shoulder at Jean-Louis, who merely shrugged. "As I was saying, of the last nine contestants to be voted out, seven will form a jury who will then decide which of the two remaining tribe members is worthy of the title 'Sole Survivor'." He paused, smiling his showman's grin. Waiting for a response from the prince of New Averoigne.

"And...?" Etienne prompted.

Gastenoo blinked. "Well, there are prizes to be rewarded, of course. The winner of the contest receives 1,000 geleva... err, ducats?" he queried, searching for the proper Glantrian monetary equivalent. Etienne nodded. "The other contestants receive lesser sums, depending on how long they managed to remain on the island, and there are other prizes as well. Not to mention the publicity." The scholarly man, Gastenoo's partner Simon St. Pierre, gave a prompting cough. "Naturally, we would be willing to offer more money to you and your family. Something more suitable to your station?"

Etienne tugged at his beard thoughtfully, then shook his head. "Alas, I regret that my duties as headmaster and prince- not to mention my personal studies of the arcane- would preclude me from participating..."

A movement at the door cut off his reply. "But of course he couldn't have simply told you that from the beginning," Jean-Louis remarked as he prepared to leave. "Perhaps we can interest someone else in your proposition, monsieurs?"

"I cannot participate in your production," Etienne continued on despite his son's interruption, though with an edge in his voice, "But that certainly doesn't mean the rest of my family cannot." Jean-Louis stood open mouthed, surprised by his father's response. Heedless of his confusion, Gastenoo and his partner both grinned broadly; they could already smell the money this undertaking would bring them. "I do have some questions about the methods you will use to run this competition, however."

"Of course, of course, your highness. My partner will be more than happy to address any technical questions you might have." Gastenoo turned the floor over to Simon.

"First of all, monsieur Le Prince," he began, "Let me offer you my utmost assurances that every contingency has been addressed. The contestants are observed constantly by our team of highly skilled diviners, to ensure that no cheating- magically or otherwise- takes place."

Gastenoo interjected at this point. "Not that we disallow the use of magic- or any other skill our contestants bring to the table. Quite the opposite, in fact. We encourage it. As long as they don't harm the other contestants, or influence them against their will, and that they follow the letter of the competitions, they are free to do whatever they can to win."

Etienne shifted uncomfortably. Gastenoo leaned forward, hands steepled together. "You might be concerned that magic-users have a leg up on the other competitors. And you would be right... to a point." He looked at his partner to explain.

Simon smiled slightly, settling into his chair. "All contestants bring with them only the clothes on their backs, and one non-magical luxury item. There are no spellbooks or weapons allowed. Thus, though they may have prepared spells in advance, they will have to make spare and wise use of them if they hope to gain any advantage." As an afterthought, he added, "And of course, any spell components they need would have to be found somewhere on the island."

"Well, gentlemen," Etienne said, rising. "I think your proposal is just the thing my relatives need to shake them out of their complacency. Heh, heh." He could barely suppress his mirth. "I shall have my seneschal work out the particulars with you- oh, and I'd like to take a closer look at your scrying practices for myself, monsieur St. Pierre- but as you say 'I believe we have a deal?'"

Longblade and St. Pierre rose to their feet, shaking hands with their new patron. They thanked him, and arranged to meet with him again soon, then exited his chambers.

Watching the two entrepreneurs leave, Jean-Louis shook his head. "I thought it a sure bet you would tell them to take a hike."

Etienne frowned as he regarded his eldest. "So how much did you lose this time?" he asked rhetorically. Jean-Louis grunted at the scorn in his father's voice, and much was said in the long glance they shared.

"You never fail to surprise me, mon pere." Jean-Louis' words might have held admiration or derision.

"Would that I could share that sentiment, mon fils." Etienne felt weary of a sudden. "I presume you will be participating in this 'game'?" Jean-Louis' silence spoke for itself. "Rad's speed, then, Jean-Louis. I think you shall need all the aid you can get."

"Merci, mon pere," the gambler of the d'Ambreville clan replied derisively. "I think you're wrong." Then he turned and left the chambers, leaving Etienne to watch after him thoughtfully.

The head of the d'Ambreville family smiled to himself, amused at the day's events. "I do believe those gentlemen are about to get more of a show than they ever bargained for."

Because No One Demanded It! :)

I was inspired to do this by a series of threads on another board I post on. This is for all of you who are fans of Survivor, Mystara, the d'Ambrevilles or, hopefully, all three! Thus, I bring you the latest collaboration between the GBN (Glantrian Broadcasting Network) and ICV (Ierendi Crystal Vision).

Each week, I'll be posting a new episode of the series, and another of the enigmatic and eccentric d'Ambreville family will be voted out. The best part is- You cast the votes!

That's right, each week, you get to vote for who you want kicked off the island (either reply here), and I'll tally up the votes, and write the next episode according to who gets the most votes cast against them.

Feel free to provide comments, criticisms, and suggestions, as well.

The names and faces may or may not be familiar to you all, but I'll do my best to breathe some life into them along the way. Hopefully this will be as fun for you as it already is for me.

The two tribes for Survivor All-Stars: The d'Ambrevilles (determined by random drawing) will be:

Tribe Mad Creeg

Andre-David de Foret
Camille d'Ambreville
Catharine d'Ambreville
Guillaume d'Ambreville
Janette d'Ambreville
Marie-Helene d'Ambreville
Maurice "Petit-Singe" Belon
Richard d'Ambreville

Tribe Black Toes

Charles d'Ambreville
"Countess" Seraphine d'Ambreville
Gaston d'Ambreville
Henri d'Ambreville
Isabelle d'Ambreville
Isidore d'Ambreville
Jean-Louis d'Ambreville
Magdalene d'Ambreville

By coin toss, Tribe Black Toes wins the first Immunity challenge. That means you can vote for any one person from Tribe Mad Creeg to be the first casualty of Survivor.

You may start your voting!