IMC :: mythodynamic laws

Jvstin got me thinking (with his nifty IMC: Linguomancy) about a quality of Amber that might apply to my campaign. What quality separates Shadow and Substance across an immortal time scale? What is the mechanism by which Amber remains Real while other shadow places, even those invested by amberites, have less substance.
It occurred to me that across thousands of years, those of the royal blood (and especially PCs), often bring things back to Amber to incorporate some small notion or technique into Amber’s pool of Reality.
They change the myth of Amber when they do this. Corwin brought guns—and dramatically changed the legend of the Eternal City.
And how do shadows most clearly reflect the ‘center’ which ambercentric philosophy makes of the Eternal City? The shadows incorporate some small piece, often called a reflection, of the legend of Amber—be it copies of people, places, or ideas.
It struck me that Amber is a pool of legend, or myth, that the shadows tap all the time. Amber is not immutable myth. It changes very slowly but it can change. King Oberon was known to search shadow on a regular basis for things he wanted to have in Amber.
So now this:

When you bring two objects of different temperature together, energy will always be transferred from the hotter to the cooler object. The objects will exchange thermal energy, until thermal equilibrium is reached, i.e. until their temperatures are equal. We say that heat flows from the hotter to the cooler object. Heat is energy on the move.

—-from Journal of Theoretics, June/July 2001 Commentary

What if we compare the above to our model of Amber and shadow?
When you bring two pools of different Substance together, myth will always be transferred from the Real to the Shadow object.
This is a workable analogy to me, but highlights a danger to Amber which is entropic. We already know from canon that shadows nearest to Amber are most Real and have the most Substance. They show truer colors of the Eternal Realm. This would follow from the same model. Infinite shadow is not drawing myth from Amber all at once, but through a graduated process that weakens as you travel further from Amber.
Against the immortal pool of legend in Amber is the infinite shadow trying to match that pool in equilibrium.
Or to put it more dramatically: Amber is unique. However, that uniqueness can change to more or less uniqueness. When shadow elements are incorporated into Amber, there are good changes, which add to the myth of uniqueness, and there are bad changes, which subtract from the myth and make Amber more like infinite shadow.
The natural force involved is already known: myth travels outward to shadow.
Here’s what struck me then: when Corwin brought guns to Amber, or when anyone brings in a tech item or new idea that alters the legend of Amber in a significant way—they are speeding up the myth-death of Amber’s uniqueness.
Sure. Short term, Corwin’s move saved the battle of Kolvir for the good guys and routed the Chaosi at an important point in the war. But long term, Amber became more like a billion other shadows where gun powder works and projectile weapons are the norm.
This is one of those things that the King and his inner circle can stay up at night worrying about.
See this Wednesday Weird 12 :: The Disappearance for further tie-ins.

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4 comments

  1. “This is a workable analogy to me, but highlights a danger to Amber which is entropic. We already know from canon that shadows nearest to Amber are most Real and have the most Substance. They show truer colors of the Eternal Realm. This would follow from the same model. Infinite shadow is not drawing myth from Amber all at once, but through a graduated process that weakens as you travel further from Amber.
    “Against the immortal pool of legend in Amber is the infinite shadow trying to match that pool in equilibrium.”
    The scientist in me feels compelled to point out that in the heat-transfer-between-two-objects example you used, there is no external heat source to keep the warm object warm. If there were, you’d see in equilibrium a heat gradient moving from the heat source through the warm object to the cooler object.
    In Amber, I think of the Pattern as being the “Substance Source” that causes the gradient in nearby shadow.
    So then the question becomes: to what degree is Amber’s (perceived) uniqueness tied to its Pattern and its Substance? How much can the myth of its uniqueness (which is of course distinct from its actual uniqueness 🙂 ) be affected independent of its (always-high) Substance?
    Just something to think about….

  2. Thanks for adding that point, Karen (follybard).
    I wasn’t even going to try and include ‘Substance Source’ in the analogy. Nice to see I got the idea described properly.
    I wonder how many amberites are comfy with the idea that the Pattern has infinite Substance?

  3. And Does the Pattern, in fact, actually have Infinite Substance? A Very high number is not infinity, and even infinities can be depleted.

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