in the Shadow of Greatness


October 1, 2002

orders at Chaos' Door (aka Oberon's last orders)

and for the posterity of my archives, this from the Amber Mailing List. Why did Oberon send most of his Children to fight at Chaos' door, when it would have so little actual bearing on events?

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 06:35:32 -0700 (PDT) Subject: Re: AMBER final battle :: Oberon's Orders
—- captain feedback wrote:
> Now for Benedict, the assault was all about Pride. He needed to prove
> something, and so we know why he wanted to attack. But Oberon? Why did
> he order the attack in the first place?

(fastens last bits of armor on, moves into firing range)
Oberon has at least three foes to contend with in the repair of the Pattern:

1. Dworkin -
The Pattern is Dworkin, Dworkin is the Pattern. Oberon must repair his father, and the painful fact is that he believes that even if he is successful, Dworkin may succeed in flailing about, damaging important elements of Amber. Oberon counts on succeeding and living through it, because that is his nature, but he also plans for what happens if he dies or Dworkin is maniacal in the repair. Dworkin must not have easy access to his children, because each of them carries a bit of Amber and its Pattern in them. To remove his legacy, his children, from Dworkin's easy reach, both during the repair and after (in case of failure) is an important part of this strategy. Removed from reach, they are still an asset to Amber, within range of the repair, they could be a liability. YMMV

2. Chaos - The Lords of the Living Void - The Lords of Chaos, the Logrus Masters, are the modern incarnation of power in Chaos. The modern Chaos as it attacks Amber's shores through the Black Road. But Oberon is not worried about the Logrus Masters, those canny Lords of Chaos are more the concern of his Children. He is worried about any remaining Lords of the Living Void, those contemporaries of Dworkin and himself who might still remain alive in Chaos. These beings represent an older arcane knowledge, and one that has fallen into obsolescence since the more sophisticated uses of the Logrus have been perfected. But while Logrus is little use against the Pattern, the Lords of the Living Void understand a deeper rhythm to the older states of the universe. When the Pattern is vulnerable, these beings may reappear; if there are any remaining. And Oberon must assume that some may remain. They might not all have died in the creation of the Pattern, or the subsequent millenia. Oberon's orders to attack Chaos are twofold here: engage the Logrus Masters, and initiate a mundane battle that may indicate to the Void Masters that Oberon discounts their continued existance. If the Void Masters believe that they have some surprise on Oberon, the initial moves with them during Pattern-repair may give Oberon small advantage. YMMV

3. His Children- Oberon does not believe that Brand acts alone, and cannot afford to believe so. Perhaps the most serious danger to contemplate while repairing the Pattern is the knife in the back from one of his children. He sends most of his children to Chaos, because he does not have a certainty of who may be in league with Brand. Oberon carefully selects the few amberites who will be nearby while he works. Gerard in Amber. Fiona at the Primal Pattern as he begins (though she is sent away as well, with special instructions which come to bear later at the Abyss.) YMMV Oberon is a man that doesn't even trust his own shadow. (well, doesn't that sound like the guy who plays hardball through the whole series?)

Here also replies to John Warren, who said:
> Unfortunately it takes us farther away from what we know, and more into
> what we guess.

Freely admitted, all is guesswork. In fact, for those who aren't keeping track, you may assume everything I post is an educated guess. I'm not good with quotes, I didn't know Roger, and I don't channel amberites. With that said, I don't know that I strayed far from what we "know".

> >>>1. Dworkin - The Pattern is Dworkin . . .
> > I hardly think this is a good enough motivation (by itself).
> "Go on kids, you'll be safer in a pitched battle with the forces of
> chaos." I'm sure that, knowing that they'd have to return to deal with
> Dworkin eventually, that he wouldn't 'prep' them for doing so to sending
> them into armed conflict against Chaos, Brand, and whatever other
> traitors amongst his seed might pop up.

I find it clear that the kids are demonstrably safer in pitched battle with Chaos (as opposed to the dangers I suggest), that Oberon never 'preps' his kids for just about anything (tough love), and that if they couldn't survive Chaos, they'd never survive 'Dworkin eventually' at all, especially if Dworkin's plan is to wipe out the Pattern. These are the things that seem to be baseline assumptions. The pure guess in this point was that Dworkin would be a danger during the repair process, and this is also based on canon text, namely the moment when Dworkin bids Corwin flee from his prescence as he changes to something monstrous.

> >>>2. Chaos - The Lords of the Living Void . . .
> > This is great material and would fit in nicely with the genre.
> However, I haven't found it in the books anywhere. To be fair, I don't
> own any of the short stories, but as far as the main books are
> concerned, this is pure fantasy. Excellently conceived fantasy
> though...

Thanks. For canon support of this element, we have Dworkin explaining a tiny bit about the creation of the Pattern to the "false Oberon". He remarks about the possibility of He and Oberon returning to a prior status as 'Lords of the Living Void'. So here I'm only contrasting this tiny bit of pre-Amber, pre-Pattern material with the current state of Chaos affairs and the second-series Logrus. It somehow seems right that the Logrus, however old (and not mentioned in first series), is not the thing that Dworkin and Oberon fear in their actions to correct the Pattern. It is suggested in various sources that the Logrus just can't go face to face with the Pattern, and, of course, modern Chaos doesn't seem to be privy to the Primal Pattern as an issue, since they are attacking elsewhere.

> >>>3. His Children - Oberon does not believe that Brand acts alone . . .
> > This is, IMO, your best argument. I personally find it more
> likely that he wants the Logrus Masters with the power to interfere with
> the restoration of the pattern tied up in supporting their troops,
> perhaps mostly because he said it, and he's in print doing so, but this
> argument has the ring of truth about it as well because it fits so
> nicely.

Agreed that this may be the purest element behind Oberon's orders.

> I guess the only answer to this debate is whether or not you
> believe Oberon when he claims the war is important to him because he
> can't afford to have the enemy messing with him while he goes about his
> dangerous work. As rare a thing as the truth is in Amber, I believe
> him; it makes sense to me. And others believe as strongly in the
> contrary, because it makes sense to them as well. Without proof (which
> died with Roger), none of us can prove our point, but must rely on
> speculation and imagination to explain what we already assume to be the
> truth from what we interpreted when we read the series.

I don't know that I meant to contradict Oberon or suggest that he was lying. I think he was telling the truth, but as so often happens, he was telling as much truth as would serve his need at the moment. My speculation is purely peering at what he wouldn't or didn't choose to say.

> But there really isn't much more any of us can do or say to
> convince the others to change their opinion on the matter (as we have
> seen). So, rather than continue to argue over something that can't be
> proven either way, I'm going to let this go. In our own games, we're
> all right. Variety of campaigns is a desirable thing, so I guess it's
> for the best.

For further clarification, I'm not debating these points, or trying to prove there is an ideal solution. When Captain Feedback tossed down the gauntlet, er, question, I waited to see what ideas might be offered because ideas are the reason I'm here. When it seemed like the question would go unanswered, I offered a few ideas of my own. There are no answers. Fiction rarely provides answers, only ideas and further interesting questions. Amber has more questions than answers, and I think that is part of its charm and ability to hold our attention. Again, Your Mileage May Vary.

Filed under : Amber at 01.10.2002