Under the Steel Web
Ariman al Malik
Retired head of the House of al Malik within Arad
Deep into his second century, Ariman has decided within the last decade to hand over the leadership of his house to his oldest surviving son, Usman Bey. He retains, however, the title of Count, shared with his son, and it is uncertain how far back the old man has actually stepped. Ariman is a slow thinking, but a deep one; he is thought to be able to lay deep plans and await their fruition, but others think he is simply a master of waiting for problems to solve themselves. In any case, his house has prospered under his leadership, and he managed to cut a relatively independent place for the al Malik. Loosely allied with the Decados because of his personally fondness for the their Countess, Ariman has levered this alliance of the two most powerful noble houses of Arad into a high standing for himself and now Usman Bey. Ariman never participated in the Council of Nobles which the Li Halan formed after the Web dropped; he left such matters to Usman Bey, who has now delegated them in turn to his own favored child. Ariman now spends much of time in the dilapidated Old Palace, playing chess with his advisor class AI, who he calls the Turk after a rather ancient concept of artificial intelligence. Ariman once maintained the famed al Malik library, but he does not, apparently, care for it any longer. His palace is believed to still be host to a number of ancient wonders which Ariman was once obsessed with, but again, as with almost all his former passions, this one seems to have waned. Some in Arad suspect it is part of a long game, but others think that the old man has finally prolonged his life too long; he is, after all, drawing near to 170 years of age.