in the Shadow of Greatness


May 10, 2004

IMC :: the Weir

Nine Black Doves: TToD Weir
:inspired in part by Randy posting info on his new campaign ... the developing Eternal City background to the Weir

We lay there a while longer and three men entered the campsite and looked about. Then two of them bent down and sniffed at the ground.

Then they looked in our direction.

"Weir," whispered Random, as they moved in our direction.

I saw it happen, though only in shadow. They dropped to all fours and the moonlight played tricks with their gray garments. Then there were the six blazing eyes of our stalkers.

I impaled the first wolf on my silver blade and there was a human howl. Random beheaded one with a single blow, and to my amazement, I saw Deirdre raise one in the air and break its back across her knee with a brittle, snapping sound.

—-Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber

Google "amber weir eric" and variations and you get surprisingly little information. Ill Met in Amber has a PC, New Mutiny has a PC, the Who's Who has a few words.

IMC, the Weir that Eric enlisted in his reign as King are a fascinating people. The Weir have a strong role as supporting cast even though their influence as Eric's personal troops is long gone.

Tatasha, High Mother of the Weir. Just after Eric crowned himself in the PatternFall War, he learned that Tatasha was pregnant with his child. Eric sent her away before the boy was born, to keep her safe and out of the dark business of saving Amber from the forces arrayed against it.

He was thinking about his dynasty.

Tatasha is a significant NPC for a number of reasons. The secrecy which Eric maintained kept her out of the Eternal City story (the son, Evander, grew up to become a threat to Random much later) just long enough to introduce a new PC to the campaign as the daughter of Evander.

Tatasha is living proof that Eric had good qualities. She is nothing like Eric. She is fiercely the Weir of which all others are but shadows. She is also the spiritual leader of all the Weir. She is bloodthirsty, honest, friendly, and opinionated in ways that rub at folks. She is earthy and quite bold about her approach to everyone. She likes people. Tatasha is an NPC that everyone has an opinion about because she forces you to think about her even if she isn't around. Most folks are somewhat shocked by her, but end up liking her. She just doesn't fit in Court Society, and there is much amused speculation as to what Eric would have eventually done with her if she became queen.

The Weir then form a hingepoint for introducing a line of descent from Eric in my campaign.

They also are a gypsy-like matriarchal people that rub against Amber's conceptions of civilization and culture. The men and women of the Weir like to point to the differences between them—as equals. The Weir savor the differences in gender. The men and women are very cliquish to their own gender, but mingle with zest.

The children of Weir are physically very active from earliest ages. They can keep up with young amberites in play, though they do not match them completely. Rough-house play is the norm.

Competition is everywhere with the Weir. Each clan of Weir is like a separate family. IMC, it has been established that the Weir do have many different clan totems. Fox, wolf, boar, rat, and a few variations of various colors. Most of this info is more pertinent in Aes (the home of the Weir IMC) than in Amber. The clans are very competitive between them, but even within, the Weir need to know who is ranking precedence. Who is the alpha male? Who is the alpha female?

Policy discussion with Weir can start a new round of combat for leadership. The High Mother is chosen by combat unless the existing High Mother has designated a successor. The clans each forward a woman they believe is the embodiment of Weir values. If a clan does not have a worthy candidate, or supports another clan's candidate, they offer no choice of their own. Then these candidates do barehanded combat within a grassy circle thirty feet in diameter. Such is the skill and intensity of these fights that serious injuries are common—sometimes participants die.

It is true that Weir can draw power through the magic in their blood and mystic symbols. There is no basis of lycanthropy or supernatural disease in the Weir—though in some shadows this is true because of the shadow, not the Weir.

Eric learned one thing from Oberon about making Amber stronger: marry well. In choosing the Weir as his allies, Eric was taking his own skills at Warfare and adding a new possibility to Amber. That prospect nearly died with Eric, for his son grew up in shadow cut off from Amber and Eric's death sent Tatasha into a six-year spiral of depression and madness. Ironically, because Evander does not recognize Random's legitimacy to the throne of Amber, he is a thorn in the side of Amber's strength.

Yet, Cassandra, Evander's daughter, is a strong supporter of King Random. Even more, she is the realization of Eric's hopes for adding new power to Amber. A woman who is passionate, fair, having access to certain unique magics, and the loyalty of the Weir clans, Cassandra may one day be High Mother of the Weir. Her sense of justice and strong family ties has already led her to champion the Deela line of family to be pardoned by the throne of Amber.

In play, my players seem to agree about the Weir:
"...they are so cool. Why does Cassandra get all the Weir? Why can't we all have a few?"

A curious insight: the Weir of Aes are shadow reflections of the people of Rebma.

Filed under : Amber, IMC at 10.05.2004