link to a question of Chaos

Lost and Found: South Wing Annex
Okay, I honestly don’t see where first- and second-series Chaos are mutually exclusive. To me, it’s all tied back to the narrators – Corwin and Merlin.
It’s a matter of wonder.

Good stuff.



  1. Yes and no. Yes it fits Corwin’s and Merlin’s attitudes.
    It still requires the forces of Chaos to have not been trying during their attacks on Amber. A few good sorcerers could have killed off the Amber royals. Merlin doesn’t try to block or absorb magical attacks with Pattern, so why should it work for anyone else? Mandor’s Logrus Sorcery works fine in Amber Castle. At the very least, the Amber troops should be vulnerable.
    Even if Pattern defense did render Logrus Magic and direct Logrus attacks utterly useless, Corwin would have noticed the attempts. Walls of fire, hurricane winds, rotating acetyline torches, spears out of nothing — hard to miss, even if he didn’t connect them with the guys waving their arms around at a safe distance.
    So: no High Magic, no Logrus attacks, no moving about by Trumps, no extreme shapeshifting. What was the war then, a project for the Chaosian Girl Scouts? (Troop # 765848 needed their Expanding the Courts (Minutely) badges, but without the handicapping it would have been too easy.)
    The trouble is reconciling them in such a way that Amber and its realm are not just a small pimple on the vast ass of Chaos.

  2. Either Randy is right (and the l33t ka0s haxors too), or Corwin was totally wrong in what he showed about Amber. Or both.
    I don’t like any of those answers.

  3. I haven’t read the original blog post, because I can’t get to blogspot (or wherever it is) at the moment. But it seems to me that Randy is making a host of assumptions about how things work, all in favor of Chaos.
    Off the top of my head (as I’ve no time to be looking things up):
    We know Amber has sorcerors — Fiona uses magic in the Merlin books. Plus two of the three (?) Chaos sorcerors we see in the Merlin books are fighting for Amber. And we don’t know anything about the quantity of quality sorcerors Chaos brought to the fight — they may well all be out-of-action by the time Corwin gets to the fight.
    Direct Logrus attacks? It’s not exactly a super-weapon, is it? Seems to me that it’s about as useful as Force telekinesis — mildly useful in small melees, not particularly impressive in large combats. And anyone using it is going to be an obvious early target.
    Extreme shapeshifting? We see flashy stuff in the style of classic wizard’s battles, but this is never used as a sort of mass attack. I don’t see any particular reason to believe it could be.
    Now frankly, I don’t think Zelanzy spent much (if any) time trying to figure out how to reconcile the two series. But in this case, it doesn’t require too much of a stretch to do it. we don’t know anything about how many “Lords of Chaos” are involved in the fight. (There was another major battle in the war, after all — for all we know, the major forces of Chaos are out in Shadow regrouping to attack Amber again when the Shadowstorm hits.) We don’t know what happened before Corwin got to the scene. (Did Dara and Fiona double-cross Chaos and sucker punch them to begin the fight?)
    Since we don’t actually see major portions of the battle, nor much of anything behind the scene from Chaos’s side, there is a LOT of lattitude to come up with your version of what happened and why it all fits together… (Give Kindred 30 minutes and I bet he can come up with a list twice as long as mine, and all different points…)

  4. Sol’s suggestion is, in large part, the “Corwin is totally wrong about Amber” answer.
    This is the stuff that leads to arguments about why Oberon MUST have put antisorcery stuff on the dungeons, because OF COURSE there are powerful sorcerers who get thrown in jail all the time. If that’s reconciling the two series, I’ll eat my hat.
    The real question about second-series Chaos is whether or not you can reconcile it with logical extrapoliations from the first series. “They have different points of view, romantic vs. engineer” is really a handwave for saying “Corwin didn’t know jack shit about what he was talking about”. Which is an OK answer, but not one that any self-respecting first-series Amber fan, purist or not, will accept as a basis for discussing the differences between the two series. “Let’s start out by assuming you’re wrong” so rarely is a worthwhile basis for discussion.

  5. Amber?s sorcerers:
    Fiona and Brand, for sure; maybe Bleys. Take the battle where Eric was killed. Among him, Gerard, Julian and Benedict, who were the sorcerers? The redheads weren?t around to help out.
    Numbers of Chaosian sorcerers:
    Merlin mentions ?magic? as one of the standard accomplishments of a gentleman of Chaos. IMHO, between Houses Sawall, Hendrake, Helgram, Chanicut, Jesby and who knows how many others there should be more than half a dozen powerful sorcerers available for a real war.
    Direct Logrus attacks:
    Merlin used his ?Logrus extensions to knock aside a section of fence and a score of troops,? in KoS. Should be pretty effective against Amber troops. Then there?s things like dropping 50lb bags of cyanide dust from a hundred yards up, gacking Amber lieutenants and captains with tendril-held blades, holding piano wire at knee level before charging horses? and on and on and on and on.
    Extreme shapeshifting:
    One shapeshifter in something like Dara?s liquid flame form could do tremendous damage at the right point of a battle. Let alone lots of them. Extreme shapeshifters should make terribly effective assassins, should be able to take out Amber captains and take their places? and on and on.
    The Chaos forces in the first series attacked along the Black Road. With Trumps they could attack anywhere, raise armies anywhere, Trump columns of nasties into Amber city direct, combine forces to attack lone Amberites with overwhelming force.
    Thirty-odd Sorcerer/Logrus masters using their powers rationally and in coordination should have been able to take out Amber?s divided princes long before the battle before the Abyss happened.
    If most of them are stupid, like Borel, then they were a threat only because Amber was divided. I don’t see a paper-tiger Chaos as being all that useful, gaming-wise.
    If strange customs or dumb-ass politics keeps them from warring effectively, ditto.
    If there just weren?t very many of them, or if only a few held effective powers, ditto.
    If they just didn?t put any serious effort into it, then we?re back to the pimple problem.
    There are some tweaks possible. Frex, Logrus, and L Sorcery and L Trumps, might not have worked past the border prior to the changes resulting from the repair of the primal Pattern. I like that one much better, as Chaos is now far more powerful than they used to be, more of a threat.

  6. I have to re-read the link. The interesting part to me was, yes, mood and style of presentation has a large bearing on the material.
    Corwin is almost fully poetic.
    Merlin is naturally dry and blase.
    Merlin was “translating” his Chaos for narration to his Dad. He did not believe his homeland would make sense to Corwin, so he told it all in a one for one translation of some kind. This seemed quite interesting an idea to me.
    I won’t fill up comments completely with point by point of Chaos’ problems during the battle of the Fire Gate. But I should say this:
    Assume everything you list Chaos using is true and works. Assume they have technique and power and will to use it. Even assume that the Houses of Chaos are not watching each other more closely than the divided Princes of Amber.
    What military points would invalidate all that great “magic-tech”? The answer is in the books already. Look at the immensity of the attack on Amber staged by only two princes.
    Now imagine using your magic toys on a never-ending mass of re-inforcements from shadow by several times the numbers of royals.
    Chaos had its collective back to the wall and it had cooler stuff.
    There are tons of examples from history of the same situation. Military superiority against inexhaustible resources. You can’t win.

  7. The numbers thing actually plays into how the battle went in House of Cards. One of Bleys’ specialties in HOC is raising troops in Shadow.
    Oberon’s trick of turning him back and bringing those forces to bear FOR Amber instead of AGAINST Amber was a major win for the Amber team.

  8. [responding from Chez Testerman]
    Yes. And No.
    No first. They couldn’t do that in the ‘Black Road War’ because the enemy was mostly on the road and the road was a very bad place for mortal troops. They couldn’t bring in overwhelming forces at Patternfall because they were using Trumps to transport their armies. (Dworkin’s Chaos doorstep Trump gets, say, five princes/esses there and five others funnell troops through to them. Double that, at most, if mortals can manage one end of it.)
    I agree that a united, or mostly united Amber family will overwhelm anybody, given time.
    Raising armies takes time. Corwin took months to recruit and train his Ri’ikans. Bleys looks to have taken years, maybe decades, to cultivate his multiple Avernii.
    And then there’s the logistics. Several orders of magnitude easier with Pattern, but still a consideration.
    Or it is IMC. How do others work the raising and upkeep of armies? How easy is it to hijack an army on the move, for instance? In Cry Havoc Corwin’s stated limitation, that one can’t control personality, means that the hijackees will sooner or later twig to the fact that Generalissimo Maximo has been replaced with a double. Fast-hijacked armies will be from cultures you aren’t necessarily familiar with. Mistakes can get you lynched.

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