Mysteries of Amber :: the Eye of the Serpent

Mysteries of Amber
Section 01.01.1 :: the Eye of the Serpent
“…imagine paradise, imagine your vision and look within the Orb, for if you are worthy of making Order where there is none, then you must paint it there, inside— with your mind— if you never return, then your Desire was not worthy”

—-from the translated Book of the Unicorn

“When Our Hands finally have him— His eyes will be taken from him in justice for his High Crimes. His body will be devoured by the Abyss. And his name will be stricken from the House of Thelbane, where it will be death to speak it, and from his cradle-house of Nemirab, where all of his Blood, have sworn that he and his Wretched Son are torn from the roots of Nemirab and cast out forever and eternity.”

—-under the seal of Libkrest, Master of Thelbane
King of the Great Houses of the Courts of Chaos

What the royals of Amber have often called the Jewel of Judgment. The thumb-sized ruby that so many think might be the key to the throne.

“What do you know of its function?” I asked her.

She shook her head.

“Dworkin considered that a state secret. I know the obvious—weather control—and I inferred from some of Dad’s remarks that it has something to do with a heightened perception, or a higher perception. Dworkin had mentioned it primarily as an example of the pervasiveness of the Pattern in everything that gives us power-even the Trumps contain the Pattern, if you look closely, look long enough—and he cited it as an instance of a conservation principle: all of our special powers have their price. The greater the power, the larger the investment. The Trumps are a small matter, but there is still an element of fatigue involved in their employment. Walking through Shadow, which is an exercise of the image of the Pattern which exists within us, is an even greater expenditure. To essay the Pattern itself, physically, is a massive drain on one’s energies. But the jewel, he said, represents an even higher octave of the same thing, and its cost to its employer is exponentially greater.”

—-Corwin and Fiona, Sign of the Unicorn

It is not a ruby. Or a jewel.
You might call the thing: Dworkin’s Lyre.
And if you knew the ancient root origin of the word ‘eye’ in Thari, you would realize that Blood is perspective and perception.
You might call the thing: Random’s Burden.
And if you knew that Random was and is the best musician in the family, you would not be surprised that he was given the Lyre.

“Because of some things that Dworkin said when I studied with him—and things that I noticed afterward, because of this. He indicated that while it conferred unusual abilities, it also represented a drain on the vitality of its master. The longer you wear it, the more it somehow takes out of you. I paid attention after that, and I noticed that Dad wore it only seldom and never kept it on for long periods of time.”

My thoughts returned to Eric, the day he lay dying on the slopes of Kolvir, the battle raging about him. I remembered my first look at him, his face pale, his breath labored, blood on his chest. . . . And the Jewel of Judgment, there on its chain, was pulsing, heartlike, among the moist folds of bis garments. I had never seen it do that before, or since. I recalled that the effect had grown fainter, weaker. And when he died and I folded his hands atop it, the phenomenon had ceased.

—-Corwin and Fiona, Sign of the Unicorn

[edit: perhaps more to this]



  1. “Shiva danced before the gods and the heavenly dwellers in the beginning, and it was the sound of his drum that changed chaos into cosmos and made rhythm pulsate throughout the world.”

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