Forth the Nine Riders

Setting Page

Table of Contents An Overview of the Amber Universe

All of creation is a panoply of worlds which stretch between Amber, the Eternal City, and the Courts of Chaos. These universes are known as 'Shadows', worlds which dimly reflect the glory of the only two 'Real' worlds. Those who possess the blood of Amber or Chaos may master arts which allow them to move through Shadow from world to world, finding anything they can imagine and bending universes to their will.

Amber is ruled by King Tylor I, son of King Gendo I, son of Fuyutsuki, who drew the Pattern by some unknown means.  Gendo was respected but not much loved, while Tylor I has been a very popular king, in part because he mostly leaves people alone, and when he does meddle, it's usually to try to help them have fun.

The Amber pole of creation is maintained by 'the Pattern', a great spiral sigil inscribed into the stone of the Pattern Chamber beneath Castle Amber. Those who possess the blood of Amber (are descended from Gendo and Fuyutsuki) can walk the Pattern and bid it to send them anywhere in all of creation. They also gain the ability to 'shadow walk', travelling slowly and safely or quickly but more dangerously through shadow to anywhere they can imagine.

Different 'Shadows' have different laws of nature sometimes. Magic works in some, high technology in others. Some are the size of a breadbox, while others encompass billions of light years of space or more. If you can think of it, it probably exists out there somewhere.

.


Amberite Geography

This category now has its own page, the Unicorn no Seishi Places Page.
 


Chaos

If one rides far enough from Amber, one eventually comes to Yig, the World Tree, which holds up the vault of Heaven.  Fuyutsuki planted Yig untold millenia ago to serve as a boundary marker for the region of Shadow claimed by Amber.  Beyond Yig, the shadows turn strange, and the world grows dark and chaotic.  The boundaries between Shadows begin to break down, and more and more of their inhabitants wield strange, incomprehensible powers, changing their form like we change our clothing.

It is said that if one rides far enough, one will reach an endless pit called the Abyss, the dumping ground of Shadow where Reality itself goes to die.  Around the Abyss huddle the Thirteen Houses of Chaos, worshipping the Serpent of Chaos.  Ruled by King Ishmael, they are a chaotic, feudal, but lively mess, grouped round their Icon of Power:  The Logrus.

Amber maintains Diplomatic Relations with them, and Princess Motoko of Amber is now the Ambassador.
 


Armies and Navies of Amber

Amber possesses several sources of military power, each of which is organized differently, just to confuse people.  Or perhaps because they have different origins.
 
 

The mainline army:

10 men form a squad(10), commanded by a corporal.
10 squads form a platoon(100), commanded by a seargent.
3 platoons form a company(300), commanded by a lieutenant.
3 companies +1 extra specialist platoon form a regiment (1000), commanded by a captain.
3 regiments form a wing (3000), commanded by a major
3 wings form a division (9000), commanded by a colonel
3 divisions form a corps (27,000), commanded by a general
1 or more Corps form an army commanded by a Major General.
The Marshal of Amber holds the highest military rank under the King.
 

Amber's Standing Army is currently 5 corps.  Two are spread across northern and western Harad.  Two more are spread across Sethfore and Amber's possessions abroad. The fifth corps is spread along Amber's coasts and interior.
 

The Castle Guards of Amber:

The Castle Guards are commanded by Major Misato.  They are divided into:

The Rangers of Arden:

The Rangers of Arden make up a Wing (3000 strong), of which one regiment is entirely elven, one is mixed, and one is all human.  The specialist platoons are Magi.

The Trained Bands:

The city possesses its own army, the 'Trained Bands', which are divided into two sections. The 'Burghal Guard' is a small, elite squad of highly trained mercenary cavalry, numbering 100 light cavalry, 300 medium cavalry, and 100 heavy cavalry. The remainder of the army is made up of the 100 'Centuries' of the 100 Wards of the City of Amber. Each ward contributes 100 armed men. The result is an extremely mixed bag which ranges from 100 hired mercenary Ungolian horse archers supplied by the Ward of Gold, to 100 street thugs with clubs and knives from the Ward of the Dead Monkey.  The commander of the Trained Bands holds the rank of General, although in theory, the Trained Bands are an overgrown Division.

The Feudal Levies:

Each of the Haradian noble familes has to call out all the knights in its service, and raise peasant levies.  The military rank of a Haradian noble is determined by his hereditary rank, for purposes of authority, unless he has earned a higher rank.  (Dukes have been known to get irritated when some Knight is above them due to his actual full-time military service...)


The Amberite Navy:

The Navy of Amber is divided as follows:
 


The ranks, from highest to lowest are:



The Elder Gods
 

Kadath stands atop a great mountain, a beautiful palace carven of every kind of stone, and decorated to delight the senses, the air filled with the sweet smell of perfume, constantly serenaded by an endless, delightful symphony. Deep within it stands a great hall, its ceiling held a hundred feet in the air by twelve elaborately carven pillars, each symbolizing one of the signs of the Zodiac. The walls are covered with mosaics of the mighty deeds of the Great Ones, and the huge bronze doors are sealed with the Elder Sign. The floor is tiled like an arching rainbow, and at the far end from the doors, there are twelve chairs, each carven from a single huge and perfect gemstone, sitting atop a dias of pure jade.

Six men and six women sat in those chairs, gazing down upon Touji and Asuka, who both felt like they were going to melt. Bast had garbed them in simple white robes, belted at the waist, but they both felt naked before the gaze of these beings, and they'd both kneeled instinctively.

They knew some of them. Bast sat among them, as did a god and goddess who resembled the huge statues from King Kuranes' museums, except for being alive and smaller. Another woman reminded Touji of Kuan Yin, or at least how she looked at the shrine he'd gone to a few times. And the one who was on fire looked like a statue King Kuranes had kept near the fireplace. Asuka recognized Nath-Hortath, a blonde man with jet-black skin and pupiless silver eyes, the patron of Celephais.

     --Children of an Elder God, Chapter 14

Twelve in number, the Elder Gods are survivors of the War of the Gods which destroyed the Pre-Logrus civilization. As such, they are much weaker than they once were, but their lore still seems potent against their especial enemies, the Outsiders.

The Elder Gods dwell in Kadath in the Cold Waste, a beautiful palace high atop a lonely mountain. For a time, they were locked away by the Gaunt Man, but Princess Kanna and her companions successfully broke the barrier and liberated them. Lian is known to have studied their lore with them.

The Elder Gods:


The Great Weapons

Most of the Great Weapons are the Logrusfoils and Patternblades.  However, several great weapons exist which are not aligned with Chaos or Order per se.  All but one of them appear to have been made with the guidance of Yig.

Beryllina
Forged by Princess Kanna, Beryllina is a shimmering, shapeshifting weapon, said to have been made to be the antithesis of the now reforged Hummingbird.  It is a weapon able to cut through literally anything, doing horrible damage with but a knick.  It also shifts into many forms at Kanna's command.  Including a gauntlet, which combined with her strength, is incredibly brutal.

The Forestals call Beryllina Atropos, the slicer of the threads of fate.

Covenant
Once a blood-soaked blade hungry for the blood of the innocent, Covenant was reforged in Beleriand by the Quartet and the Valar, remade into Covenant, a blade for the preservation of peace and the formation of alliances. It is a slightly curved blade made of white steel, inlaid with holy verses of the Unicorn on one side and of the Serpent on the other.  It is said to warn of imminent treachery and the hostility of others, and it sets the blood of peace-breakers and traitors on fire, if they break oaths sworn upon it.  (Though sadly, you have to successfully hit such traitors first...).  It is typically carried by Lady Talia of Alars, to whom it was traded to regain Withywindle.

The Forestals call Covenant Clotho, the weaver of the threads of fate.

Shinjin (Faith)
Forged by the Quartet, combining the powers of Order and Chaos, Shinjin is a wooden hilted longsword with two sharp edges.  (It possesses a wooden sheath as well, into which it can slide so as to appear to be simply a bokken).  One side is embossed with a segment of the Pattern, the reverse is decorated by an inlay of Pindin, the Serpent of Fire.  Shinjin seems to have the power to cut apart the powers of both Order and Chaos, but does no special damage to such beings.  It does, however, set Outsiders on fire.  It is rumored to also function as a spell rack.  Most commonly carried by Princess Motoko, all four of the Quartet seem to have a special link to it.

The Forestals call Shinjin Lachesis, the measurer and weaver of the threads of fate.

Morkeleb
Rumors claim one of the Herald Candidates made it, but it seems to bear no malice.  This potent weapon does great damage when it strikes, it shatters spells on a touch, it is nearly unbreakable, and it can store and release spells for the benefit of its bearer.  It often does many other tricks as well, as Prince Beowulf is known to conjure many properties in it to meet his needs.

The Forestals offer no comment, but to say that it has served its master well.


Gunpowder

You all know the basic concept, but no one has ever found a variation that works in Amber that you know of. Efforts to seek such a formula in Shadow mysteriously fail for reasons which remain unknown.  Amber does have fireworks, but they are sorcerous in nature.

Rumor has it the Harad Rebels one hundred and forty years ago used the secret of Amber gunpowder to defeat Marshal Saionji, but if they did, they took the secret with them into shadow.  The raiders from Galicia had this secret a hundred years ago.  It's generally assumed the leaders of the Royal Family have winkled it out by now, but they aren't sharing.


The Jewel of Judgement

This is the most powerful known artifact in Amber whose existence is proven. Close to Amber it is hard to shift shadow and mold it, but with the Jewel, you could turn Kolvir into a giant potato or turn the Gulf of Amber to blood. It can also control weather with ease, and be used in some way to store spells and do other tricks Gendo never really explained to anyone.   King Tylor wears it on court occassions, and the rest of the time, it remains locked in the royal vault.

The Five Elemental Reflections of the True Eye of the Serpent (aka the Jewel Of Judgement), each corresponding to an equivalent elemental Pattern. They are...
 



Amberite Law

Amberite Law is a complex and tricky thing.  This is caused in part by the fact that Amber is not a completely unitary kingdom, although it has grown more unitary over the last few hundred years.  Different regions of Amber have different lawcodes and judicial systems, united by the supreme judicial and lawmaking authority of the king.

Amber Law:
Amber Law proper extends over Castle Amber/Amber City/Amber Port, the Kolvir Range, the region around Fork (west of Arden), and the Vale of Garnath (the farming region around Amber City that extends down the coast to the Hills of Sethfore).  Amber Law defaults inheritance to the eldest legitimate male child, unless no male children survive, and then females inherit, but that can be overriden by a properly notarized will.  Amber has fairly advanced contract law, and the courts ensure even nobles have to keep to their contracts.  Amber Law uses a judge and jury for criminal cases and a panel of three judges for civil cases.  Judges are appointed by the King outside Amber City and Amber Port, while Amber City and Amber Port have the right to appoint their own judges at the discretion of the Council of Aldermen and the Mayor.

The City of Amber has the right to make its own laws, binding within its borders, subject to the King's veto.  The King, in consultation with his Privy Council, has the absolute right to make laws outside Amber City.

Forest Law:
The Forest of Arden is the personal desmene of the King of Amber.  He has utter, absolute power over it.  If you enter Arden and he decides to kill and eat you, no one can say him nay.  Only members of the royal family can enter Arden freely and hunt at will, and even they can be barred by the Warden's formal decree.  However, formal Writs of Passage are easily available to merchants who wish to pass along the roads, and Writs of Hunting are fairly freely issued to nobles wishing to hunt there at their own risk.  Hunting without a writ is Low Treason, punishable by death, usually by being hunted through Arden.  Banditry in Arden is also Low Treason.  Killing one of the Unicorn's children, regardless of the circumstances, is High Treason, punishable by forfeiture of all goods, money, titles, etc, and slow, horrible death.

Writs of Passage and Hunting can be issued by the King or Warden of Arden personally, or by their duly authorized representatives.  Such agents can be found in Fork, Sethfort, and Amber City.

All trials are conducted by the Warden of Amber; results can be appealed to the King, but this is usually fruitless, as the King generally backs up the Warden's decisions.

Sethfore Law:
Sethfore Law is much like that of Amber, but each major city has similar legal rights to make its own laws, subject to royal veto and appoint its own judges.  Divorce law is much more liberal, and inheritance is equal to all children and the surviving spouse, unless overriden by a will.  Sethfore Law protects merchant rights quite ferociously, and the cities are all ruled by mercantile oligarchies which frequently clash with the nobles who control the countryside.

Harad Law:
Harad is technically still its own nation, although in practice, it goes where Amber goes.  Harad is more feudal than the rest of Amber; the cities are smaller and weaker, and the rural nobility dominates it.  It is divided into four provinces, each with a provincial Parliament, and there is a national Parliament.  They control taxation in Harad, and all laws made in Harad must be channeled through them.  However, centuries of warfare enabled Gendo to put through several permanent taxes, which made him largely independent of the Parliaments for tax revenues.  As a result, the Parliaments have little real power, although they do a lot of work as the supreme courts of the provinces and in conducting improvement projects for the provinces.

Harad divorce law is very strict, and inheritance goes to the eldest child, male or female, unless overriden by a will.

All judges must be nobles or at least knights, and they have to be approved by the Parliaments.  In practice, the Parliaments rarely object, and Gendo and Tylor have both taken care to choose popular nobles.  They serve for ten year terms.  Harad has many palantine courts in the border regions, where some noble is a hereditary judge.  Elsewhere, misdemeanors are tried by nobles on their estates, and felonies are tried by travelling royally appointed assize judges, who make circuits around the country.  Most cities have the right to appoint justices of the peace, who conduct misdemeanor trials in the cities, and Harad City has the right to appoint its own board of judges qualified to try felonies.  Criminal and Civil cases both use Judge and Jury trials, with the Jury being selected from the social class of the highest ranked person involved in the case.  Nobles must be tried in criminal cases before the regional or national Parliament.

Colonial Law:
Amber has many colonies abroad; their law codes vary tremendously, as each one has a seperate legal charter.  In general, the king grants his powers to set laws and enforce justice to the ruling body of the colony, retaining powers to pardon or to override the colonial government's decisions, but this is rarely done.


The Logrus, Sigil of Chaos

Moriya sighs, and bows. "Thank you, Logrus. Sir. Sire. Erm."
Moriya asks, "How _do_ I address you?"
"THE MoST SPLenDIFEroUS ANd CelESTIAL SouRCE oF ALL PowER and GLOry."
     --Moriya, during an effort to get help from the Logrus.

The Logrus is an underground cavern located at the exact opposite end of the universe from Amber, by definition. It appears to move around, but actually, it's moving everything ELSE around. As it wanders, it is usually to be found in House Gainax. Its configuration constantly changes.

One must possess shapeshifting to the point of being able to assume primal form in order to sucessfully walk the Logrus from beginning to end. Those who do so, gain the ability to call upon the Logrus to perform various tasks, gaining power over Shadow.

While the TAMD/UNS/F9R Pattern has yet to show any direct sentience of its own (unless you listen to Munchausen), the Logrus has been known to manifest an ever-changing squiggle known as the Sign of the Logrus, though which it communicates.

Because it represents change, the Sign of the Logrus is not the most stable of beings. Because the TAMD/UNS/F9R Logrus is in some way a manfestation of a greater Logrus, it isn't even always aware of exactly what universe it is in or who it is talking to.

The Logrus seems to regard the Assistant Keeper of the Logrus, Jack, as its 'husband' these days, and is very fond of its daughter by Jacqui, Jewel.  It continues to bad-mouth Thoric and Mutsumi, and is believed to have probably been involved in several plots to kill them.

The Logrus on the Witness Stand at the Trial of Shizumaru

The Sign of the Logrus manifests itself. "GReeTInGs, EArTh CReaTURes."

Justin says, "Please, umm...state your name."

"I aM thE SIGn oF tHe LOGruS."

"Were you present at the events of [Some chaos date]?"

"WHEreEVer LOGrUs USeRs go, I AM."

"Did you witness the aforementioned death of ten knights of Hendrake?"

"DAMn StRaIGht. It'S ALL GaBRIeLLE's FAult."

Justin sweats. Justin says, "In what manner?"

"PUNk ASs PATtern. HeR and THAT biTCh, GidEON. TelLINg ME, whAt to dO!"

Motoko stares at the sign of the Logrus, and winces.

Shizumaru begins to sweat, as do many other Amberites present.

"Are you saying they sent the demon?" Justin asks.

"ANd THey TOok mY dAmN sanDWIch, too!"
 


The Logrusfoils

Two of the Logrusfoils, Thought and Memory, obtained by unknown means, were wielded by Annadil during the duration of the Annadil Crisis and used to open the Gate of Revolution beneath the Air Pattern of Tir'Na-Nog on the Second Day of Darkness along with the Patternblades Greyswandir and Werewindle. After the Gate was closed, the two Logrusfoils were claimed by the Amberite forces before they could disappear into Shadow. It is believed that there were 13 Logrusfoils forged in total for Annadil's children.

At the time of Forth the Nine Riders, the deposition of the known Logrusfoils are as follows:
 


Magic in Amber

As per the usual rules, every shadow has its own laws of magic. Magic is fairly powerful, but not vastly powerful in Amber itself and its nearest shadows. It functions by tapping the ambient magical energy of the surrounding area, which tends to be strongest at certain magical hotspots known as foci. If too many sorcerors all try to tap the magic in a given location, their spells may fizzle due to using up all the local juice. Smart sorcerors find a foci and build something to let them tap it from a distance so they don't run into this problem.

Magic requires a special hereditary knack to be learned, making it somewhat rare. Still, about one out of every hundred Amberites has some degree of skill at sorcery.

 My revised Magick rules can be found here.


Metals of Power

Cold Iron

Cold Iron (Iron which was shaped by cold forging) has power against Magick.  Weapons and items made of Cold Iron cannot be directly affected by magick.  (Magically created fire can melt it, but it can't be telekinetically grabbed with magic, and it'll cut through magical defenses as if they were tissue paper).  Cold Iron will also punch through conjured defenses and it will dispel conjured items with prolonged contact (it takes at least thirty seconds).  Merchants in Amber City use cold iron bars to make sure they aren't paid in conjured gold.  Carrying Cold Iron makes it harder to cast spells.

Mithril

Mithril is a rare and precious metal, with several times the strength of the best steel, and a mere fraction of the weight.  It also takes enchantments very well.  Point value weapons are often made from mithril, and Greyswandir is an alloy of Mithril and Silver.  (Werewindle alloys Gold and Mithril.)

Silver

Silver is proof against shapechangers.  Wounds done by silver or silvered weapons cannot be shifted shut by Shapechangers.  If enough silver is stuck in them, they can't shapechange at all.

Tre-Stone
Imbued with Reality, Tre-Stone is the currency of choice in Chaos, it is said, though the stuff doesn't form on Amber's side of reality.


Amberite Money

Amber's money system is fairly simple.  It is based on a decimal system, using metal coins, of which there are a fair number of denominations.

The base coin is the Silver Royal; every other coin is either worth a certain number of Royals or is a fraction of a Royal, in the same way that a dollar is the base unit of American currency.
 
 
Coin Name Value in Royals Metal Type Front Back
Unicorn 10,000 Mithril The Unicorn Rampant "All roads lead to Amber"
Comet 5,000 Mithril A Comet "All roads lead to Amber"
Dream 1,000 Gold Tir'na-nog Mount Kolvir
Castle 500 Gold Castle Amber Mount Kolvir
Sun 100 Gold The Sun Mount Kolvir
Sickle 50 Electrum A sickle A sheaf of wheat
Moon 10 Silver A crescent moon Unicorn Rampant
Star 5 Silver Five pointed star Unicorn Rampant
Royal 1 Silver A crown Unicorn Rampant
Shield 1/2 Bronze A shield A sword
Axe 1/10th Copper An axe A tree
Plow 1/20th Copper A plow A tree
Mug  1/100th Copper A beer mug A tree
Loaf 1/200th Copper A loaf of bread A tree

Most Golden Circle kingdoms use similar coins to facilitate trade.  Beyond the Golden Circle, the metal value of Amberite coins usually enables them to either be sold as curios to get money or even simply spent.  It should be noted that the weight of the various coins is proportional to their value within the same metal bracket; mugs are tiny coins, while axes are fairly large, for example.

Most business is transacted with electrum, silver, and copper, except between merchants and rich nobles, who make more use of gold and mithril coins.  In terms of purchasing power:


 


The Music Industry

In recent centuries, the music industry has boomed in Amber and Chaos.  Part of this is because of the willingness of Morgenstern to pump out vast quantities of cheap devices which enable Amberites to listen to the music his record company produces, and the ability of any Logrus initiate to easily pull appropriate widgets out of shadow with ease.

Most music circulates in the form of 'Crystal Disks' or 'CD's.  A few inches across, such crystal disks magically store music which can then be played back from a crystal disk player.  Such players range in size from beltpouch-sized to huge wall units with crystal-clear sound.  They're still not hugely cheap, costing 1 Moon in Amberite money, though Crystal Disks themselves will generally go for 1 or 2 Shields.

Princess Shiori and Princess Random are both noted performers, as is the Chaos band M^2.

Noteworthy companies include:



 
 

The Outsiders

"The Outsiders are evil beings of immense power who, ages ago, loaned their lawnmower to the unicorn and the serpent, who never got around to returning it. They've been trying to get it back ever since, tricking people into offering black and decker accessories to the unicorn in exchange."

     --- Dworkin of Gumi-Amber explains the Outsiders to Corrine, A Fistful of Finndos

Motoko folds her hands over the Red Book and stares at them in silence for a while. "Moriya, I've talked to Grandmother before about how the Outsiders work, and to Anthy-san... they were the ones who corrupted her brother, you know. What makes them so potent, so dangerous, is that they work with what's in people's hearts."

Moriya closes his eyes and leans back in his chair. "Yes. Exactly."

Motoko says, "They take the little evils that are in everyone's heart--resentment, bitterness, jealousy--and they turn them into great evils. And they can even take the good things--they can take love--and make it so all-consuming that people will burn worlds in the name of someone they love."

     -- Motoko and Moriya discuss the Outsiders

The Outsiders. Their names whispered in dark corners, promising power and glory to those in the Real universe, seeking ways In from Outside, to regain what they  had lost eons ago when the Logrus and Pattern came to be and brought structure to Shadow. To study them is to risk falling under their sway, for the more you learn about their ways, the more you risk your sanity... as evidenced by Annadil of Chaos, who exchanged his sanity for Power from the Outsiders in order to attempt to open the Gate of Revolution, to try and remake the known universe to his vision. He was defeated, the Font of Power was sealed, and their power was believed to be broken -- or at least curtailed for the time being.

But now, the Outsiders try to force their way In once more...

So far, the following beings of dire power or their servants have been encountered in one fasion or another by the House of Amber. Read more about them, at your peril:
 


With the fall of Tharkold, the last of their Herald Candidates has fallen. It is hoped it will be a very long time before they try for another competition to select one...
 


The Pattern

You can find a detailed write-up on the Pattern power here at my Pattern Page.

The Pattern is a great icon carved into the solid rock of the Pattern Chamber, a more or less spiral that sometimes doubles back on itself and is marked by three 'veils', where the going is especially rough.  The exact nature of the Pattern remains debated--how could drawing a big squiggle in the rock create the universe?  Several of the Elders have made as exact a duplicate of the Pattern as they could, but it had no apparent effects.  It is utterly indestructible, although rumor states that Gendo's fourth wife (who was also his first wife) tried to somehow use baby Nanami to destroy it.  How a baby could destroy the Pattern is unknown, but it does tend to make people nervous whenever she enters the Pattern chamber.

It's usually thought that only Fuyutsuki's descendents can walk the Pattern because he made it, but it remains unclear as to how many generations descent from him will inherit this ability.  Anyone else who steps on it or crosses its lines is consumed by fire.

The Pattern casts reflections of itself into Shadow, each of these reflections becoming progressively weaker and more damaged as one moves away from it.  The Patterns of Ember, Arden, Tir-na'nog, and Rebma are all fairly perfect reflections, although the one in Rebma is a mirror image of the one in Amber.  Other reflections are known as Broken Patterns, which have progressively greater holes and kinks and chips in them, and thus grant progressively weaker and more dangerous power over Shadow.  However, such damaged Patterns can be walked by entering through the hole and walking BETWEEN the lines to the center.  Even Shadow people can do this and thus gain a flawed power over Shadow.

From the Amber perspective, the Pattern is the center of creation; everything radiates outwards from it.  Chaos forms the far distant periphery where the power of Order finally fades away, consumed by the entropy of the Abyss.
 


Pattern Blades

Pattern Blades are weapons which have a segment of the Pattern inscribed in them. Five are known to exist and a sixth is rumored.

Two of the Patternblades, Greyswandir and Werewindle, were stolen by Annadil to open the Gate of Revolution beneath the Air Pattern of Tir'Na-Nog on the
Second Day of Darkness. After the Gate was closed, the two Patternblades vanished before they could be reclaimed.

At the time of Forth the Nine Riders, the deposition of the Patternblades are as follows:
 


Rumors of other Patternblades exist, aligning with the known Patterns, but their whereabouts are unknown:


In Arcadia, there are six known Patternblades, whose depositions are as follows:
 


They will cut through almost any armor with ease, they're virtually unbreakable, and they cause those who possess the Blood of Chaos to burn to death with just a nick. This was discovered during the Succession Crisis one hundred and seventy years ago.

Drake tells the story of how he got his Pattern Blade:
From the logs of Shizumaru's Seven Visions at the Tree of Life
 

Drake draws Werewindle and holds it high.  "This is Werewindle, the Day Sword."

"When I was young, I decided I wanted the finest sword in all of creation.  So I hopped on my horse, and I rode forth to explore the four corners of the shadow, in search of the best weapon that exists.  I rode to the Abyss, where  Shadows go to die, but I found no weapon worthy of me."

"I rode to the bitter north, where the world turns to ice, and the frost giants dwell, building palaces of ice and snow.  But their weapons melted in the sun's warmth."

"So I travelled to the south, seeking a weapon made of fire.  I battled the fire giants, and discussed weapon's lore with Mim the smith.  Mim made me a  blade forged of flame, and I rode forth, bearing my new weapon.  Then it  rained and my weapon went out."

"I found a dozen weapons, but each one failed me in some way, until finally I understood.  I needed the one thing which never fails, the thing which sustains all things. I needed a weapon that bore the power of the Pattern."

Drake pauses, becoming more serious.  "And so I rode to Yig, and hung from its branches for seven days, to learn the lore which led me to my blade, secrets I cannot reveal to any who have not also performed that rite."

"I had been gone from Amber for centuries.  And when I returned, I found it locked in war with barbarian invaders.  And so I put my sword at the service of Amber.  At the battle of Maybel, I slew over a hundred Cimbri with it."


The Prophecies of the Unicorn

The Prophecies of the Unicorn form the main holy text of the Cult of the Unicorn, and a great riddle which Amberite mystics and scholars struggle to unlock to this day.  It consists of thirteen chapters of varying length, each of which is divided into verses of varying length, although the number of verses is always a multiple of thirteen.  The verses range from single line sayings to thirteen page long stories or parables.  Each chapter is named after something prominent in it.

While the Cult of the Unicorn treats it as a religious document, many Amberites use it as a fortunetelling tool, whether by opening it randomly or using complex methods to either randomly select passages or to turn people's names into passages.

Some samples from the Prophecies:

"Love will surely find a way..to make trouble."  Turtle 34

"The time will come when the mountains will fall, when the wind will cease to blow, when the seas will empty and the sun will fall from the sky, when the forests will perish, and the dead shall walk.  Then the adults will follow and the children will lead.  But not today." Tiger 28.

"The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown.
The Lion whipped the Unicorn all around the town.
But when the smoke cleared, there was no longer a crown to be had.
And so the Unicorn was very sad, but the Lion was very glad.
While the Unicorn mourned, the Lion stole the crown.
Ashes to Ashes, all fall down."  Lion 1
"Old Age and Trickery will always defeat Youth and Enthusiasm, the Lion said."  Lion 2

"I say thee nay, the Unicorn replied.  For Spring always defeats Winter.  If not, all would perish."  Lion 3

"Then perhaps all is best dead, the Lion replied.  Then the Serpent strangled him for his impertinence.  But he did not die.  No, Lion then went to the land of the dead to learn the secret of Death, that he might have life everlasting.  But was life everlasting really such a good idea?"  Lion 4

"One day, I gazed into the mirror, and looked upon myself.  Yet, it was not myself, for the me in the mirror was backwards.  Nor was it myself, because it was enslaved to my will.  I could make it do anything I wanted.  But then I wondered...was it thinking the same thing?  Perhaps it was looking at me, and thinking that I was its puppet.  Had someone chained us together?  Enslaved us to dance in unison for eternity?  Unable to be free to change?  What if I decided to be the backwards one?  I could not.  And so I resolved to shatter the mirror, for the mirror must crack, if the reflection is ever to be set free of its slavery."  Mirror 1.

"Look and see, the Queen sacrifices her daughter to strike at her husband.  There can be no forgiveness."
"Death comes from the sky when the eldest king finally falls."
"Five they are, the Children of the Elements, and when they come, then one knows that the End of Days is upon us."
"The daughter of the sea falls before the golden blade.  Let us weep for her."
"Brother will lift hand against sister, and many will fall by the hands of their own kin..."
"And lo, the prodigal returns, but there is none to greet him on his coming."
"Seek ye the Star of Light in the deepest pits of the mad god."
"Look, the land wars against the sea, and both sink in flames."
"And I saw a red rider, and from his hand blazed death."
"When the sea turns to blood, then shall come the second day of Darkness, when all the world will take up arms against Amber."
"Even the purest of hearts can be fooled, and ill come of it."
"All that can be opened can be shut."
Mirror 8


The Serpent of Chaos

Married to Princess Motoko, the Serpent watches over the peoples of Chaos. He's generally believed in Amber to hate the Unicorn because the Unicorn helped Fuyutsuki steal his eye. Not all Chaosians seem to believe this, however.

The Serpent is known to have multiple aspects; unlike the Unicorn these are not separate avatars, like the Alicorn or the Narwhale, but rather different forms he shapeshifts into as the mood takes him.
 


Some Chaosians teach that the Serpent mated with Anno, Keeper of the Logrus, to produce Anno's three known children, Anthy, Setsuna, and Dios. Others find this ridiculous.

Like the Unicorn, the Serpent is in some manner linked to the Logrus as the Unicorn is linked to the Pattern. He may have assisted Anno in its creation.

In Chaos itself, the Serpent is worshipped as a god. Most people will never see him, although he appears at the Feast of the Serpent at the Chapel of the Serpent in the Courts every year, and sometimes manifests in other places where he is being worshipped (not always in a recognizable form).

His church presents the strange paradox of tending to be very hiearchical and conservative while preaching words of liberation and change. It remains unclear whether this represents his will or simply the result of the interaction between sentients and a god who is often not around to tell them they're screwing things up. The current head of the Cult of the Serpent is Rural VII, who is more lawyer than holy man, though not a bad sort.

As a result, the cult of the Serpent often finds itself challenged by prophetic figures who truthfully or not, claim special revelation from the Serpent and try to shake things up. To a greater or lesser extent, they seem to usually end up co-opted by the established cult, though they keep things from being stagnant.

The Cult of the Serpent has Fourteen major holidays, one for each of the thirteen months of the Chaosian Calendar, plus the Feast of the Serpent.



Spikards

Legends speak of these items, rings which draw magical power from Shadow, granting fantastic powers to those who wear them.  These legends claim the Spikards pre-date the Pattern and the Logrus, that they were used to make those Icons.  It is said that whoever controls all of them will become a god.  Then again, legends also claim one of the Chaos houses is descended from a cow...

Greater knowledge of these spikards has surfaced in the last century, as follows:

Unicorn Spikards

It is unknown how many Unicorn Spikards there are, or who made them. The known Unicorn Spikards are:
 


Fuyutsuki has been mumbling lately about making a seventh Unicorn Spikard in order to match the seven of Chaos.

Dragon Spikards

There are seven Dragon Spikards, possibly created by Anno, Keeper of the Logrus:
(It can be presumed that New Chaos possesses its own Dragon Spikards, but their identity is unknown)
 


Some Chaosians grumble about the fact that 3 of the 7 are in the hands of Amberites, though it might be pointed out that 2 of the 6 Unicorn Spikards are in the hands of Chaosians...

Turtle Spikards:

Half a century ago, Prince Beowulf helped the rulers of Arcadia forge seven Turtle Spikards.  Like the Unicorn Spikards, they only work in the Arcadiaverse, except under unusual circumstances (such as when active portals to other universes are open).

Lion Spikards

Created by some hostile force (Suspected to either be Annadil on his own, or under the influence of the Outsiders), these rings of power put one at risk of the control of the wielder of the Master Spikard which is linked to the nine Lion Spikards. Annadil used these spikards to control the minds of his pawns across Shadow during the Crisis.  All known Lion Spikards were destroyed during the Herald Crisis, but the final location of the Master Spikard is unknown, though most suspect beyond the Gate of Revolution.

Miscellaneous Spikards

There are quite possibly other spikards out there, but who made them or where they are is unknown. At the moment, the following have come to light:
 



Technology in Amber

Technology in Amber is at roughly a Renaissance level, without gunpowder. Steam engines do work, but a practical fuel which could fill the role of coal in the industrial revolution is lacking, keeping them expensive toys. (Amber has no coal deposits, and imported coal will not burn for reasons unknown). Water power is the most common substitute for muscle power, used in mills and some forms of craft production. Amberites have, however, advanced to a much higher level of skill in chemistry and medicine than in Earth's Renaissance.

A century ago, a joint project of several princes brought about a major technological break through:  Zeppelins.  Amber now has a large air fleet and conducts some of its cross shadow trade by those means.  One can ride in comfort and grace to all the Golden Circle in the great white blimps of Amber.


Trump Decks

The 'Standard' Amber Trump Deck for this chronicle contains:

Cards with a [] around them are found only in older trump decks, since the person they show is dead or lost in Rebma.  Fuyutsuki also generally provides every member of the Royal family with a Trump of their bedroom in the palace.


The Turtle

Great A'Tuin

Formerly of Discworld, now of Arcadia

The Turtle is a kind and noble animal! - Mutsumi

Great A'Tuin was once merely a shadow Animal God, carrying upon his back four elephants, who in turn carried a giant disc which held the Discworld. One day, Jacqueline of Amber and company came to him with an offer.

Now he is A'Tuin, Turtle of Order, the Unicorn's equal in a universe of Jacqueline's making. He is assisted by the elemental turtles:


He's also much quicker on his feet these days, taking minutes instead of months to have a reasonable conversation.
 
 


The Unicorn

The origins of the Unicorn remain debatable.  It definitely predates Amber, and probably assisted Fuyutsuki in creating the Pattern.  Many Amberites worship it as a god, and all Amberites know that it watches out for Amber.  Most have never seen it and never will, but it tends to manifest itself at times of crisis.  Amber City has a great Chapel of the Unicorn where High Priest Geo presides over the Unicorn Cult.  There is also known to be a Grove of the Unicorn in Arden where the Unicorn sometimes appears to those who seek it.

The Cult of the Unicorn is the great civic religon of Amber; by participating, the participants also re-pledge allegiance to Amber itself.  For many people, the Cult provides the great civic celebrations and eight major festivals a year (roughly every 45 days). These festivals effectively mark the start of each of the eight Amberite months.

Many people practice other faiths in conjunction with it.  Some people are rather more devout, which wins them a mixture of respect and exasperation.  All of the Golden Circle shadows are required to tolerate the Unicorn Cult, and many join in with some degree of enthusiasm.


Unicorn Tracks/White Roads and Narwhale Currents/Sea Lanes/Alicorn Winds

The origin of the White Roads is unknown.  At some point in the past, some force burned roads through some of the shadows on the Amberite side of Yig.  Legends claim they're made by the movement of the Unicorn through Shadow, but it's been seen travelling about without creating any such roads.  Thus, their origins remain a mystery.

Similar routes through Shadow exist at sea, known as Narwhale Currents. (Rumors speak of Alicorn Winds as well, but few Amberites can fly to find them).



 

Other Links on this Site

Last Update April 18, 2002