Brand's Rational to Carissa
(eventually this will include many of Brands conversations)
“Why? I suppose I could lie, but at this point there is simply no percentage in it. If I lie you'll leave and frankly I need the company. I did it for three reasons. The first was to explore an esoteric theory concerning who can walk the pattern. The second was because I wanted something to hold over Gerard. And the third, was for personal security.“
Finishing off his brandy, he hand cranks another snifter full.
“I see you don't believe me. Understandable. Let me explain. You see, few of my brood of siblings have delved as deeply as I have into the powers of creation. Oberon was long on demanding loyalty and short on encouraging magical research. Frankly he damn near lost his cheese when he learned how much Bleys, Fiona and I were learning from Dworkin and Aries. Dworkin disappeared soon after he found out.“
“In retrospect it makes sense. Look at Oberon's first brood; the Monsters. Fleece; a creature of Chaos with great power and essentially a dog's intelligence , Adrian; the most normal of the Monsters but hardly the poster-child for magical restraint, Clymnea; ah...the less said aloud about her the better, Av Reet; the god of the Djinn, Eater; the Incarnation of Ruin, Hinarik; a necromancer with godly powers of evil,Vox; the Mistress of Dragonkind , and Nalshik; the Spider Queen. Oberon had little control over them and one of his greatest fears was that they would come for Amber. They have vast magical powers and only their own arrogance and personal distractions have kept them from turning on us.
"With Oberon's second brood he tried hard to keep them from the study of magics. Finndo did of course gain great powers, but Osric, Benedict, Orsolla and Borlak were only taught the most general of magical skills. Eric, Corwin, Deirdre, Caine, Julian and Gerard have little more magical knowledge then a few cantrips and some shadow magics. He found it better to not teach them magic. We had to learn elsewhere. Some of us paid dark prices for that knowledge. Maybe some force in us drives us."
“And consider the siblings of mine that Oberon chose not to allow near the center of things. His reasons were often that he feared their powers or their desire for power. Delwin; a madwand with obscure magics and possibly the greatest Trump artist Amber has produced-except for Dworkin of course, Elfwine; a wizard of epic proportions."
"And possibly the worst two of the lot, the Adask sisters Nina and Emile; who nearly ruined Amber during a brief three year residency long before Bleys, Fiona, and I were born. Their magical hooks are still in Julian and Caine. Adagalasck has been opened after Oberon went to all the trouble of locking those two up in it. What happened? Julian and Caine practically abandoned Amber for Nina and Emile. Relmopator thinks he has done something noble by opening Adagalasck but all he has done is make Amber weaker."
“In exploring things I spoke with many instructors and practitioners. One belief is common, nearly universal; A person must be of a certain maturity to walk the pattern as well as of Oberon's blood. Now of course we know its Drowkin's blood that is needed. The belief is that the pattern fights you and if you make a wrong step you are destroyed. Yet, in most the shades I've seen nearly no-one has failed."
"Why is that? If its so hard there should be piles of grease smudges around each of the patterns and big gaping holes on our genealogical charts. But there aren't! So I consumed several gallons of Old Mink, a 170 proof alcohol made from psilosibin mushrooms, which tastes vile but delivers a considerable wallop. While drunk and tripping, I attempted to walk the pattern. The search for knowledge and a suicidal nature drove me. I never should have survived but I did. I tried several other experiments and what I came to believe was sobriety and maturity were not technically required to walk the pattern. So did I survive walking the pattern while blind drunk because the pattern wanted me to succeed or was it so ingrained in my blood that I could not fail?”
"Also, there is a belief among practitioners that Aries Colbresi has walked the pattern by studying it close enough to memorize every nuance of every footstep needed and then assaying it like an intricate dance."
“Secondly, Many of us had children in Shadow. Few of us saw fit to admit it during the reign of Oberon. Only Martin, Duncan, Truman, and Arloxedra were known of publicly. Martin was Random's son and revealing his existence was Moire's doing. Julian hid Duncan in Adren and he only attended court on rare occasions. As Julian's second in Arden he was in charge anytime Julian had to come to court. Truman came to court because Gerard was wounded near death and he used his trumps to Contact Caine to get emergency medical attention and happened to call during Court where a near dead Gerard and a new nephew were big news. And Eric, of course, brought Arloxedra to Amber as a prop, a paper tiger of a Crown Prince, for the king who expected to rule for ten thousand years. "
"Secrets are power after all. While in Chaos I had seen early excerpts of what would eventually be completed by Maylon Hendrake as the “Heirs and spares” papers. It listed many of my unknown siblings, much to my shock. Even better is that it had nieces and nephews. This was before Patternfall of course so the Lintra line that produced Maylon, Doria, Desri, Dara, Merlin, Despil, Jurt and Vek had not been conceived yet."
“Now we come to you. The story of my finding Martin is well known but I found you first. I was trying to find a way to control, redraw, or edit the Pattern of Amber. Destroying it was never a consideration.“
“I found you first; a child of Gerard's that was only 3 years old. I took you and led you to the pattern. I walked ahead of you, leading you on behind me to see if the pattern would guide you or destroy you. I was certain it would guide you. What I found was that it not only guided your footsteps, it did not provide resistance. You walked it without noticing the difficulty. The pattern WANTED you to walk it. I realized the pattern was a sentient construct with its own goals and motives. That information was worth the risk at the time. And knowing a secret of Gerard's might have come in handy some day. One never knows when one might need a navy or a militant brother. “
“Lastly, when I walked you through the pattern, I was able to see how the pattern empowered you. It gave me a sense of your magical signature. Knowing that information intimately lets me defend myself against pattern-based attacks should you choose to do that. Of course I had no idea what you might become. I suspect you still don't know. That uncertainty was a good enough reason to take what defenses I could. After completing my experiment using you, I returned you to your bed and whipped your memory. Now, should you remove certain protections on this cell, ones that keep things from that side of the bars from coming into this side of the bars, you could sit there with a crossbow and shoot me down like a pig in an pen. But what would be the fun in that? If I was freed I could certainly defend myself either magically or by force of arms, but still, as Arlo put it recently, I make a better computer filled with data then I would a Prince of Amber roaming the halls. ”
"In the end, my dear, the question you need to ask is in the years since you came to Amber and discovered I had risked you in the manner and to the extent that I did, what has been the sum result? You've borne the pattern imprint nearly your whole life, whether you knew it or not. I imagine it gave you a certain Larger then life sense to those around you. It fixed your strength and agility as an Amberite early in life. While you lived among shadow-people I'm sure they were amazed at your abilities;strength, agility, balance, fearlessness. It caused your innate ability to regenerate to be that of an Amberite, which certainly caused you to heal from injuries at a rate others thought nearly miraculous. It made you resistant to disease and illness as an Amberite; I'm willing to bet you have never had so much as a sniffle, little lone a bout of the flu, regardless of where you were. You were vastly more resistant to extremes of cold and heat then normal humans. You could endure strain, stress, exertion, exposure, inebriation, and abuse greater then anyone you ever met on earth."
"Of course one of the blood of Amber who has not walked the pattern has many of these elements anyway, but those that have walked the pattern gain a far more direct relationship to them and gain a more active defense with them. And the other thing is that the Pattern knew you personally because I had introduced you to it."
"In the balance, the experiment helped me confirm a great truth about the pattern and it damaged you not at all. That I put you at risk is a point against me, but if the pattern had chosen to destroy you at the time, I would have been standing next to you, holding your hand. I risked as much in the effort as I forced you to risk. In the balance of things, i'd call us even."
“Anyway, I eventually decided to edit the pattern and engrave new arcs in it. My belief was that if I could keep Martin in place, drain some portion of his blood short of killing him, and begin inscribing immediately I could add new arcs that allowed me great powers of Order and Chaos. I had a engraving tool I felt was equal to the Jewel of Judgment. If I had succeeded in the effort I believe that Martin would have been healed fully and probably have gained the same powers I was creating for myself. It would have made him mighty. So I took the risk. I trumped Martin, stabbed him, and began the work. “
“As it turned out I was very mistaken. Catastrophically so it seems. To my utter amazement and total ruin, Martin was able to break my mental hold on him. Who would have guessed. Something about his Rebman mentality was slippery. He managed to break the Trump contact and the ritual fell apart. It had never been my desire to destroy the pattern but once the primal pattern was marred there was nothing I could do. My engraving tool was worthless, unable to even scratch the pattern. The tool disappeared as if in fear. The damage to the pattern damaged Dworkin, revealing his connection to the pattern, and it scourged me as well. I went stark raving mad. It never occurred to me I might destroy the entire shadow-wide universes. But after the damage was done that was all I could think of... Madness. Oh I'm guilty of many things, arrogance being the worst, but only the damaging of the pattern made me crazy enough to do what I did.”
“My cabal mates of course turned on me and imprisoned me. Corwin saw to my release from bondage. And that the rest of the Patternfall War occurred. Eventually I was transfixed by an arrow and took lovely Deirdre into the Abyss with me. What befell me there is another story.”