A Shadow Across Amber
The Story So Far
It has been roughly 200 years since the end of the Patternfall War. King Random, having been crowned shortly after the Unicorn’s selection, has enjoyed a largely peaceful reign in Amber. His wife, Vialle, sits as his queen by his side and has gained the favor of much of the court as a wise and kind ruler. Random, while not nearly as well respected – such as is the way with most things politic – has proven to be an extremely effective choice. He is balanced, fair, firm and tends to not let the typical coercions of office influence his decisions.
Corwin, after relating much of his recent years to his son Merlin, left to explore the Pattern of his creation. These journals have been published by Merlin and serve as a reasonable accounting of the events surrounding the Patternfall War; copies exist in the Amber Library (collected as ‘The Chronicles of Amber’ and spanning five volumes, with Merlin collaborating with a Shadow Earth author, one Roger Zelazny, to collate and edit the work.)
It should be noted that although received by the family as a fair retelling, these are definitely Corwin’s memoirs and should be taken with an entire salt lick given the biases and favorable light he appears in. (It has also been suggested that either Merlin or this Zelazny author may have inadvertently introduced editorial changes in compiling the work, but these so far appear to be relatively minor in substance.)
Florimel, first established as Ambassador to Chaos to help secure the Treaty of the Abyss, has since taken a husband, Asram, Lord of House Chanicut and Prince of the Courts of Chaos. He is second in line of succession to the Chaos throne (King Swayvill being the current ruler and his son, Mayr, being first in line.) Although they seem happy enough together, any suggestion of love or romance seems ludicrous; this is clearly a marriage intended to unite the realms and secure each family (and spouse) a substantial measure of power – something Florimel no doubt intends to profit from.
Dara of Sawall was imprisoned in Chaos, having been found guilty of treason and sedition. Most of the elder leadership of Houses Sawall, Hendrake and Helgram have also been taken into custody for their involvement in the Patternfall War; as a result, their houses have fallen out of favor in the Courts, leaving Jesby, Swayvill and Chanicut to fill the vacuum.
Dworkin has returned as an honored member of the relatively unimportant House Bariman. Oberon was interred in the family crypts of Bariman under a state funeral attended by both Chaos and Amber houses. Although sentiment varied wildly in private discussion, the affair was solemn and of the stature appropriate for a fallen King, with much of the respect and admiration for his accomplishments genuine.
As expected, Llewella has returned to Rebma where she resides and acts as Ambassador for Amber’s interests. She has stayed close to Queen Moire, whose health is said to be uncertain.
Fiona has begun the process of working with Random to secure the Pattern and Amber against further attacks, quickly establishing herself as the High Sorceress of Amber.
King Random has named Caine his Chief of Security, whether out of genuine respect for his uncanny investigative skills or simply a desire to keep him close under watch. This has forced Caine and Fiona to work together and their mutual distrust of each other is proving to be an excellent set of checks and balances.
With Caine’s promotion, Gerard has taken over all navies and is acting High Admiral of Amber’s fleets.
Julian has asked to remain Marshal of Arden, which Random grudgingly granted at the time, and has also become Beastmaster of Amber, breeding all sorts of chimera from Shadow to bolster Amber’s forces.
Benedict has taken a less active role in wars of late, although his official title remains Supreme General of Amber’s Armies. He appears much more comfortable in his daily routine as Master of Arms and spends much of his time maintaining gardens and a few nearby Shadows he has put a great deal of effort into cultivating.
Bleys has endeavored to forge a new Golden Circle alliance and spends a great deal of time reinforcing both Shadow Paths between Amber and these key Shadows and the treaties and trade agreements securing these relationships. This affords him plenty of opportunities for travel in the best of circles, with great volumes of wine, women and song plied by those courts to try and secure his favor. Needless to say, the small burden of his Ambassadorial duties is a small price to pay for this lifestyle.
Merlin, son of Dara and Corwin, continues to throw himself into the studies of his dual-heritage and the powers from each Realm. More recently, he has been aiding his father Corwin in investigations of Corwin’s Pattern, which is similar, yet somewhat unlike Amber’s.
Martin has never fully recovered from Brand’s attack and seems content to wander Shadow. He appears to have patched things up between himself and his absentee father, King Random, but hasn’t really developed any strong ties outside of that.
Eric, of course, is still buried in Amber – a hero of the state and fallen champion of the Patternfall War. Osric and Finndo also lie buried in Amber, having passed many millenia ago.
A large cenotaph honors Dierdre facing Corwin’s (premature) tomb in the Grove of the Unicorn. There is no stone or monument for Brand. It should be noted that although neither body was recovered after their fall into the Abyss, no contact has ever been made to either and Fiona’s extensive research assures us that Brand is no longer a threat, nor has he left any significant booby-traps or other lurking horrors waiting to be unleashed.