Contemplations on the Nature of Benedict
To become the greatest warrior, soldier, fighter, in all the universe means many lives went under his blade and boot. Epic amounts, in realms far an wide. How does one become the premiere warrior of Shadow and Amber?
Benedict was a quiet, taciturn, mature, an icon of war who had learned that the best offense is a good defense and that the best way to win the game is not to play. A calm counselor in the face of dire danger. A strong hand to calm violent outbursts from sibling just slightly less dangerous then himself. A person whose friends and enemies are unwilling to test themselves against his blade.
However, that calm, that maturity, and that experience came from a hard school of hard knocks. In Hand of Oberon Dworkin says “Benedict has the Mark of Doom upon him” I've always loved that line and it hearkens to the idea that he has not always been what he is now. It also suggests that something has marked him, possible even and Amber Death Curse.
I've always thought that a lot happened before Eric, Corwin & Deirdre were born. That a vast gulf of time exists that marks them as ancient. Osric & Finndo don't play a part in the series but they would have been the people looking at Benedict as their baby brother. Something happened that made Oberon send his eldest sons off to die violent deaths. Did he send Benedict off with them to die as well only to have one old the three son return? Did one of his elder brothers curse him?
How many centuries in shadow did Benedict study war? Fighting Styles. Monastic martial arts. Cavalry. Infantry. Artillery. Seamanship? Was it all swords and catapults? Besides the Sword Ages has he spent centuries in Gun Ages? Who did he serve and who did he bring to Amber?
I can easily see Benedict leading a legion under Caesar. But did Benedict fly a Hurricane in the Battle of Britain or a Messerschmidt? Did he spend time in the Klingon Empire? Did he fight with Gondor or Mordor? Did he fight with Atreides or with the Harkonnen ? Are Gurney Halleck, Miles Teg, Sam Grant and and Marshal Ney on Benedict' staff as he serves the new King of Amber? What happened that made him build a zen garden in his estates?
In running him as an NPC I've had him speak to young nieces and nephews with dark battles lusts about his own days as a God of Conflict. The Bringer of Death, the Destroyer of Nations. He told them of being the last survivor on bloody plains covered in gore, and walking through bone and brain and crushed lives.
I have thought that there must have been centuries of red death in his history till he had some kind of epiphany about the value of life. But by the time it came, he was the supreme warlord of Shadow and Amber.