in the Shadow of Greatness


April 17, 2002

Amberite Familiars

Amberite Familiars

intimate (in'-ti-mate, adj.)
1. characterized by a very warm friendship or very close personal relationship. 2. characterized by a thorough acquaintance or detailed familiarity. 3. having to do with one's deepest nature or essence; inmost; intrinsic. 4. very personal or private. 5. of two people, having sexual relations. 6. suggesting or characterized by closeness, privacy, warmth, or friendliness.

What is it to be intimate with an amberite? A blessing? A curse? A boon? All of the above and more.

Lord Henden is the castle steward. While the average age at death of Henden's generation was 274, Henden is nearing 400 years of age and appears to be just past his prime.

Master Resort is the castle librarian. The science and medicine of the shadow of his birth provided comfort and health to its people in good measure. Average age of death there was 87, slightly higher for women. Master Resort has lost track of his age, but the register of accounts in the Master Clerk's office lists his hire date by King Oberon. Based on this, and given a rough guess that Master Resort was 34 when he came to Amber, the records suggest that he is at least 621 years old and appears about 70.

Lord Rein is a retired country gentleman who spent his youth with Prince Corwin. While others of his generation have died, he is still in his prime.

The average age of death among the populace of Amber? 250.
The average age of death among the Golden Circle? 150
The average age of death among the shadows? 65

Now the common learned explanations, for those privileged to have this sort of information, is that the closer to Order and Perfection you are, the stronger the force of Life. As simplistic as this idea is, can you imagine the social pressure if this became common knowledge?

Amber with a "no refugee/no visa" policy? Amber as the "wellness" retreat of the Golden Circle's very rich?

And how is it that some maids in the castle live longer than country nobles of the ancient houses of Amber? And what sort of greed and covetousness might this inspire? How much the worth of doubling your life in Amber? And realize that the common learned explanation for this is, in fact, hogwash.

The Pattern does not radiate Life and Bounty; neither do the royales, nor the soil of Amber. The noble family of a Begman embassy in Amber have the same statistical lifespan as the people of Begma. So much for Amber as the center of life-giving strength.

What is the real reason behind the erratic and strange vitality of Amber and certain individuals? Prince Corwin put it this way, "The shadows lie for us."

Familiarity breeds intimacy. Intimacy defines need. What need? The need of the lie.

How awkward to train a succession of stewards. How frightening to not recognize the maid who cleans your room. How bitter to have your best friend grow old and infirm, let alone die. And if you have bred the perfect horse, how frustrating to have it dead in ten or twenty years. The Familiars of Amber are not all obvious, and few are outright arcane in nature.

Filed under : Amber, IMC at 17.04.2002