in the Shadow of Greatness


February 15, 2002


Unicorns, True and shadow.
One droll moment in my campaign was a conversation between Cassandra, young amberite princess NOT raised in Amber, and DeWinter, old amberite scion NOT acknowledged by Oberon. Cassandra was trying to save DeWinter's life in a very special shadow called Glantri. The poison killing him was within an hour of sending him into the beyond, but the Healers of Glantri had explained there was no cure. But an exception might be the touch from a living Unicorn. Long story short, she called on some cousins, they explained the Unicorn of Amber did NOT put in guest appearances for anyone, let alone outlawed bastards of Amber. Cassandra thought that was really stupid. So she did proceed to summon a unicorn. A shadow-unicorn. With some further complications— matters were resolved well, DeWinter lived. Upon waking, he asked how he had been saved, and direct-minded Cassandra explained she had called a unicorn. He heard, "called The Unicorn." Much paleness of face, much stuttering, much impressiveness accrued to Cassandra. The Unicorn of Amber does not make guest appearances in my campaign. Neither does the Serpent. Nor do the other Elder Spirits of the Universe. They don't "work for scale". They are busy. And besides, your brain just might explode if you saw them.

Unicorns. There are two power levels of most Creatures of Power in my Amber Universe. The True level which corresponds to Shadow as a topology of the Universe, and the shadow-level which corresponds to local shadow conditions. The two have Hermetic associations (as below, so above), or perhaps in a more modern lingo, there is a fractal similarity. Unicorns of Shadow tell you something about a True Unicorn as shadow-dragons tell you something about True Dragons. They are reflections in a different scale and power. IMC, the only unicorns you can observe are shadow-unicorns. These are wild and feisty; gorgeous and fragile; they are highly prized and rarely captured. They can bring life to the nearly-dead, heal the most foul wounds, and steal the heart of anyone with a love of the strange. Are there True Unicorns? Oh, yes. But they are less visible than the rarely seen shadow-unicorn. They live at a level of Perception that cannot be seen by ordinary mortals.
As for the Unicorn of Amber
Above and beyond the Creatures of Power are the Elder Spirits. The Elder Spirits do not live in the universe. They are the limits of the universe. The Unicorn is an Elder Spirit, as is the Serpent. True Dragons, or True Unicorns are but a hint of the potentials of these greater beings, who are so essential to things that their existence creates the reflections we call Dragons and Unicorns.
So did Oberon really have a Unicorn for a mother? More later.

Filed under : Amber at 15.02.2002