IMC :: a Chaos education

“People have been falling over left and right: poison, duels, assassinations, peculiar accidents, dubious suicides. A great number have also departed for points unknown. Or so it would seem.”

—Mandor

Competition.
There are over thirty strong and ancient Houses in the Courts of Chaos and some of these have dependent cadet Houses. The one thing they really have in common is a culture of competition. All else flows from this.
Amber’s own sense of competition, instilled by Oberon, is pale by comparison.


Secrecy. Form. Manners. Duels. Ego. Education.
So let’s talk about education. What does the well-heeled noble of Chaos learn in a effort to be one of the selected few to essay the Logrus?
First, you can be sure that each House has its own ideas about this.
Second, the system includes tutors and experts: many from the Black Zone of conquered shadows; shadow people whose only worth might be if they can obsess on their expertise enough to impress the Chaosi elders. On rare occasions, there will be a Chaos expert of one House whose skill is of such merit that other Houses might bend to send a young one to learn from the Master.
‘Master’ means teacher in Chaos. It is a very rare form of address.
And bartering between Houses to make such an arrangement is just as rare.
The Church has its own school for those who can convince their House that they are meant for the priesthood. The best and brightest of Chaos are almost always reserved for the House’s agenda and in this, the House elders will overrule the young who wish to serve the Church.
Those members of House blood that may be allowed to join the Church follow a rigorous path of instruction in all things Chaosi. They also lose certain House privileges, due to security concerns.
What are the teachings that a scion of Chaos must have? They have come to be referred to as the “Seven Fingers of Chanicut” or the “Chanicut Fist”. The old axiom is, “Without seven fingers, one can only make a small fist.”
Toxins. Sorcery. Shapes. Serpentcraft. Bladework. Traditions. Secrecy.
Each one of these is avowed more important than the others.
Secrecy
Nothing more need be said about this.
Traditions
This is the greatest body of knowledge to be learned and cannot be taught by servants, tutors, or the Church. Here are learned the House protocols, disciplined elegance, ascendancy, history, hunting, events, statecraft and honor. Normally the Keeper of a House teaches or monitors this education.
Bladework
All the fine arts of duels, weapons and field combat. Command and control of combat beasts is part of this. Tutors and experts are used here. Masters of War can be consulted. The House Warlord monitors.
Serpentcraft
The realm of the mind, will and defense of discipline are studied. Houses will usually test scion to a ranking to decide if advanced studies are warranted. Tutors and experts are used here. Masters of Mind can be consulted. The House Mentat monitors.
Shapes
Not all Chaosi are good shapers; some do not shape beyond certain basic defenses. Experts are used here, but seldom tutors. Masters of Matter can be consulted. The House Lessat monitors.
Sorcery
The graceful mastery of arcane forces is considered a basic skill. Tutors and experts are used here. Study of Black Zone variations is considered necessary. Masters of Bindings can be consulted. The House Warlock monitors.
Toxins
Poisons delivered by fire, earth, air or water are considered the highest compliment in conflict. The grace and elegance of damage or death by toxin is a high art. Poison is reserved for equals; never shadow people. Tutors and experts are used here (and tutors from shadow are usually held hostage to antidotes of Chaosi design). Masters of Venom can be consulted. The House Keeper monitors this dangerous knowledge.

“I was taught the usual things a gentleman should know-magic, weapons,
poisons, riding, dancing.”

— Merlin, the Courts of Chaos

Outside the Houses, there are three teaching organizations beside the Church. They represent common resources chartered by the Throne of Thelbane and draw conscripts from various Houses by secret election (in other words, they get the dregs).
Healers: seldom needed (because of defensive shaping and sorcery) but useful for treatment of Logrus madness or unknown wounds.
Shadowmasters: crafters of shadow and ways but not artists.
Trumpmasters: limners of the contact art. Second class to Trump Artists as Shadowmasters are to Logrus initiates.
And beyond the above, there are the Ghost Schools that do not exist. These are secret and movable rendezvous to study some shared bit of philosophy or esoterica irrespective of the House protocols. The challenge here is to make a school without stable resources or location that must capitalize upon the edges of common ways or lostways in order to share the crumbs or seekings of weird knowledge.
Chaosi discovered to be member of a Ghost School are punished under the assumption that House protocols have been violated. However, young Chaosi are often attracted to the risk of a learning edge not available through traditional methods.
Of the education of the servant classes of Chaos, we will write another time.

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