. . . A B O U T
C H A O S
In I Have No Idea, the region of Chaos encompasses several major features.
First, there is the Abyss, a seemingly infinite expanse of nothingness, sight of
which only the distant shifting sky interrupts. Into it, Brand fell with Diedre, and
even their bodies have not been recovered.
In the Abyss, dividing it into its Near and Far expanses, lie the Courts
of Chaos, sometimes called the Hub. Visible from a distance as a shifting mass
of uncertain size, the Courts are a place of disparate, shifting cityscapes and
parklands. Within the Courts, streets and ways shift location. Space
weaves in and out of itself, and knotting through nearby shadow. The sky may well be the
bottom of the Abyss, or some other Shadow entirely. Walking from one end of the city
to another is nearly impossible. Most inhabitants do not even try, but use ways
(small 'w') located in archways, streets and buildings to travel to and from recognized
landmarks. Imagine yourself in a cramped old world city like Prague or Florence,
then fold it over itself like origami, light it with strobes, and throw it in a
blender. Add spatial distortion effects, and you might be able to imagine the
madness of the Courts.
The solid land which borders the Abyss and faces the Courts is known as
the Rim; the Lords of Chaos consider it prime real estate. Beyond the
immediate Rim lie the shadow lands of the Black Zone, most of which are
claimed by the Lords as their demesnes, but some of which lie in the keeping of petty
demon Kings. Lands so close to the Abyss are extremely unstable. Kingdoms and
cities shift their location overnight. Forests turn to deserts, turn to clouds, turn
to forests again. Fortunately, the will of the Lords is such that they can tie their
personal lands together with specialized ways, their possessions trailing through shadow
like beads on a necklace, winding around other such necklaces and loose pearls in the
over-shaking basket that surrounds the Abyss. Lords may not be able to
control their neighborhood, but they are rarely separated from their holdings. Petty
kings are rarely so fortunate.
The Ways of
A way, small 'w', is a fusion of two pieces of shadow, producing a single area of
space linked to two distinct locations. Ways are easy to create on the far side of
Yigg, so much so that they act as common doorways, almost replacing travel in real-space
Ways, with a capitol 'W', are massive networks of ways, small 'w', owned by a Lord of
Chaos. Often in form a single massive building, spread diffusely through shadow, Ways
allow the Lords of Chaos to survey all their holdings in ease and comfort. While the
Ways of a Lord are not, strictly speaking, synonymous with his or her territory, they are
often confused. To speak of Borelways, for example, refers at once to the Ways
themselves and all his holdings. Most Ways connect to buildings within the Courts,
which they use as their main anchor. While innumerable smaller Ways belong to the
petty nobility, the number of great Ways have always been few. At present, there are
at least five great Ways, maybe more: the Royalways, Daraways, Borelways, Varnways,
the Ways of Neergeth, and Suhuyways. Some might count Sleerways as among the great
Ways, others Berimenways, which although they have been sealed for centuries, if not
millennium, are rumored to be extensive.
Lords of Chaos
Any initiate of the Logrus automatically receives the title of Lord or Lady of Chaos,
as does any member of a noble family. (The two are almost always synonymous.) Each
Lord is usually associated with a House, which is called after either its most prominent
Lord or (more rarely) a family name or deceased former head. While many petty Lords
exist, only a half dozen or so hold real power. At present, the 'Amber Question'
sets the Great Houses against one another, and they remain close to open warfare.
The Royal House
King Swayville of Chaos (duh!) heads the Royal House. The Royalways remain the
largest of all the Ways, and the armies of Chaos lie at Swayville's command. his
power, however, is on the wane, because of the humiliating treaty he signed with King
Random after the war. He houses Amberite troops in his Ways, and they 'assist' him
in enforcing the treaty and putting down revolt. The Royal house recently abolished
the separate office of High Priest of the Serpent, and now claims that for the throne,
whose occupant is now both Rex and Pontifex Maximus. Swayville prefers to appear as
a wildly-bearded man with ropey hair and red eyes. Rumor has it that he has sired a
crown prince to help shore his reign.
The Lord Chamberlain Neergeth heads the more conservative elements of court, maintains
the kingdom's finances, and acts as liaison to Amber. He has always been a
thorough-going royalist, and he bears the recent humiliations stoically. Thus he
stands high in the favor of the King and Benedict. Neergeth changes his shape
regularly, so any description would be pointless. The Ways of Neergeth are the
second largest in Chaos.
House Lintra (House Hoellemaedchen)
The Lady Dara heads the House Lintra, also called House Dara, after her or House
Hoellemaedchen or Hellmaiden after its many warlike occupants. The lady Dara prefers
to remain remote from the current court, and opposes the treaty. She does,
however, attend court and occasionally speak with her father.
The Margrave Varn was High Priest of the Serpent before that office reverted to the
crown. (And, no, he didn't have to give up politics to become priest. Screw the Merlin
books.) Margrave Varn no longer frequents Swayville's court, but keeps himself in his
rural estates or in his heavily fortified townhouse, and has collected about himself a
cadre of "right-wing" Chaosians, including Lords Sleer and Flark. The Lord
Varn prefers the form of a stag-headed man. He has been known to parlay with Julian
and Caine, for what ends, none know, although ostensibly the two have arrived to sample
his hunting preserves.
Duke Borel is dead, and his Ways and House have reverted to his sister. She
possesses none of his skill at blade, and Borelways shrink by the year. Officially, House
Borel cleaves closely to the crown, but many suspect this is only for its own
safety. The Lady Dara has been seen entering Borelways, as has Caine.
Nobody fucks with Suhuy. Suhuy is apolitical.
the Lords of Chaos
The inhabitants of Chaos are variform. Being shapeshifters, the Lords of Chaos have no
gender as such: they may manifest male or female organs at will. Naturally, this means
that any shapeshifter can bear children at any time. It also means that there are no
visual cues to whether a Lord may wish to do so or has done so in the past. A
shapeshifter need not grow obvious reproductive structures such as widened hips or a
full-sized womb until after fertilization and need not manifest breasts (if a mammal)
until after giving birth. (And some choose even stranger forms of replication: like
asexual budding or fission.) Lords of Chaos, therefore, find the Amber ideas of
"male" and "female" to be rather unusual.
However, this is not to say that the Lords of Chaos have no social categories relating
to sex. Far from it.
Firstly, Chaosians roughly categorize people into "tops" and
"bottoms." Many shapeshifters often find that they prefer either the
active or the passive role in sexual activity. Chaosian culture attaches a slight
social stigma to"bottoms", but not a dehibilitating one. The Chaosians do not
use gendered pronouns amongst themselves. When speaking to Amberites, however,
Chaosians sometimes refer to "bottom" Chaosian as a "Lady of Chaos"
instead of a "Lord of Chaos" or use feminine pronouns to refer to such an
individual. It is doubtful whether Chaosians fully understand pervasiveness of
gender in Amberite society or its function in Oberon's court, and thier use of pronouns is
often clumsy. One Chaosian might speak to an Amberite of "Lady Dara" and
another of "Lord Dara", but they both would mean the same person.
Secondly, the Chaosians possess a rather cruel institution which resembles Amberite
marriage practices. Chaosian Houses often set aside one or more children to be
"virgin brides" in arranged marriages to other Houses. These children are
not allowed any physical contact with other Chaosians to prevent any transmission of
genetic material through the skin and sometimes the "brides" are even cordoned
by magical wards to prevent transfer by air. Only in such a way can the Houses be
absolutely certain of the integrity of their genetic line (and of the validity of marital
alliances). After the birth of their first child, the "brides" are usually
free to do as they wish, although their future fidelity is sometimes vouchsafed with oaths
or codes of honor. Many such "brides" hold lingering resentments towards
their parents or Houses. House Hellmaiden contains many brides or former brides:
hence its name. Around Amberites, Chaosians often refer to such beings with female
terminology and pronouns, even if the "bride" is currently male in appearance,
which has confused or offended several Amberites, including the Princess Flora. The
Lady Borel is such a "bride," although her recent dalliance with Caine has
affected her status.
The lesser inhabitants of Chaos (the "demons" as Amberites sometimes call
them) are not all shapeshifters and some of them who are shapeshifters have not the same
range of control as the Lords of Chaos. These lessers may have gender, especially if
they immigrated to the Hub from more distant Shadows. For the most part, they keep
to their own kind(s) and have little impact on the culture of the courts.
Many Amberites reside within Chaos, or visit regularly. Benedict commands the
occupation forces. Caine and Julian spend most of their time in Chaos, visiting one
or another Way and generally relishing in the unsettled times. Fiona has
occasionally visited court to seek after ancient magics, Flora to sample the pleasures of
Swayville's court, and Corwin, Gerard and Llwella merely to visit.
Last Modified 3-5-99