It is several months after the Patternfall war. Amber is in
trouble. The repair of the Primal Pattern and the drawing of
Corwin's Pattern have significantly reorganized shadow. About half
of the Golden Circle kingdoms are much farther from Amber than they
were. No one has found the other half yet. Amber, as a kingdom,
relied heavily on shadow trade for supplies and now, that trade is
almost non-existent. While no one in Castle Amber goes hungry,
poverty and rebellion are setting in throughout the rest of the
kingdom. It is only the efforts of Gerard, Caine, and Julian who
have been personally bringing in supply caravans from shadow that
has prevented an outright revolt.
Adding to the threat of revolt is a growing religious movement. The
Reorganized Church of the Unicorn believes that Patternfall was the
beginning of the end of the world. The Serpent is coming and only
the Unicorn will save them. They claim divine guidance from the
spirits of Tir-na Nog'th. While no one else has met these spirits,
no one can deny that strange lights are often seen in Amber's dark
King Random's rule is threatened in other ways. The Lords of Chaos
commonly violate the Patternfall Accords. They are demanding that
they be "renegotiated" now that the gun of Amber's army is no
longer pointed at their collective heads. Thus far, Random has
held firm to the accords, but he can't afford a war at this time.
Benedict's analysis shows that Amber could defeat the Courts,
should it come to war. But he is worried about another threat.
Large, powerful armies have been spotted moving through shadow.
Thus far, they are only attacking each other but Benedict feels that
it is wise to assume the armies will eventually attack the one, true
Of course, that is only what people think is going on...
Amber is quiet, almost as much a place of ghosts as Tir-Na Nog'th. The
echoes of those lost in Martin's war haunt the thoughts of those who
remain behind. Perhaps the lost have it better. They don't have to live
with the memories of what they became when the Chaos grenades hit. The
grenades are the weapons of last resort for a people with few options
left. They inflict terrible mutations on those who survive the initial
blast. Fortunately, those so mutated rarely last long. Chaos says that it
just wants to exist, in peace and balance with Amber. Martin has vowed
Thelbane will be dismantled, brick by shiny-oozy-window-thing.
Flora has assumed the day to day duties of running Amber and Julian
commands the guard. Martin and Gerard spend their days waging the war.
That Gerard was caught in a Chaos blast and mutates as much as any soldier
ever did goes unmentioned by those who wish to remain in Amber. It is only
the legendary Amber endurance that has kept the changes from destroying
him altogether. Some degree of chaos is intrinsic to those of Amber blood,
so the Pattern provides no cure.
First came the great storm, then came the famine. Stars warred in Tir-Na
Nog'th and a dragon flies the skies. The Brothers battle and the people
die in pointless war. The signs are fulfilled. The end of the world has
come and the Unicorn has forsaken Amber. Only a blood sacrifice of a
member of the royal family can atone for its sins. Or so believes the
Church of the Unicorn. Amberites do not openly venture into the city
anymore. Martin has not acted against the Church out of fear that he would
become the sacrifice of choice. Does not the woman who brings him food
each day have a brother in the Church? Does not the boy who changes his
bedpan have an uncle who is a priest? Amber is not secure against its own
Rebma has become a haven for those who have fled Amber. Fiona and Bleys
are frequently guests of Queen Llewella. Queen Moire was killed by a great
white shark who went into a feeding frenzy at the same time that Random
was attacked. The shark was apparently the emissary of Sedna (the fluidic
arm of the Courts of Chaos). The new queen seeks to break the symmetries
between Amber and Rebma lest Rebma follow Amber's path. The queen also has
begun a search for Random. Although Martin claims "he is under the BEST
medical care", some would like to verify this for themselves. Martin lacks
the power to subdue Rebma, at least without altering the fabric of
reality. While Martin is often seen wearing the Jewel of Judgement, he has
yet to show that he knows how to use it.
Benedict has eliminated 17 separate armies of the Aries Mark XII. He
claims that it is much more dangerous than the Aries Mark VII that fought
him to a stalemate centuries ago. Fortunately, he claims, so is he.
Benedict almost seems to be enjoying the challenge and considers the Mark
XII a greater menace than anything Amber has faced. Fortunately, it still
seems to lack trans-shadow capabilities. Benedict thinks that it is using
the undead forms of great warriors who were, in life, able to traverse
shadow to lead its armies. Somehow, the warriors have managed to retain
their abilities in their undead forms.
Fiona and Bleys are greatly disturbed by the news that Arawn, Fiona's son,
has been freed from the shadow that imprisoned him. He was a cunning and
powerful necromancer whose mad scheme to end all death, everywhere led to
his imprisonment. Speaking of imprisonment, Brand has been freed from the
trump limbo that held him since the end of the Patternfall war. His
current plans are unknown.
Fiona, Bleys, Benedict, Aremis, Lamianna and Caine are all under a death
sentence in Amber. Pete, Harlock, Egon, Flora, Julian, Gerard, Llewella,
and Brand are not. Random, Corwin, and Dworkin have not been heard from.