The Scions of Amber
On the next card a tall man stands upon a dusty road. His coat is long, and may have once been black but rain and wear have turned it a dark blueish gray. Under a wide brimmed black fedora brown can be seen brown hair, slightly curled. In one hand he holds a gnarled ash grey staff, the other jammed into his coat pocket. The image seemed restless, as if the man was ready to move. I knew him, he called himself Pilgrim.
My name is Pilgrim, or that’s the name I’ve chosen. I left the name my father gave me behind years ago, with the shadow I was born in. My mother was a poor woman, barely able to support us. we lived in a small town, I worked in the fields for the local lord and she did whatever work she could find. When I was young I fought with the local boys, who would call mother a slut and a whore. She would always clean my cuts, and tell me to just ignore them. That she had all that she wanted in life. As I grew older, I grew better able to protect myself the bullying stopped, for while they could still beat me, it took several of them and I usually recovered before they did.
Life got better as I was able to take better work. Mother had to work less, and she took to sketching and writing poetry in a notebook I’d purchased for her. She even occasionally talked about my father, whom she claimed was a Prince from a far away magical city. When she spoke of him, she didn’t seem bitter. My mother was a saint.
When sickness ran through the kingdom, killing perhaps one in five of the village mother died. There were so many bodies they were being buried in mass graves. I snuck mother’s body away and buried her beneath a tall oak that she loved. I didn’t return to town. I knew my father’s name, and that of a city called Amber. There was nothing left for me here.
It took less work than I thought. That next spring in the port city of Velna I found those who knew of this Amber. Apparently each summer a ship would come from Amber. For the three months before that ship came I worked as a dock-hand. Stowing aboard the ship to Amber when it came was quite simple, since I was one of the few the dock-master trusted to load its cargo.
The captain of the vessel was a man named Gerard. Also a prince of Amber. I considered approaching him but chose not too. The voyage was quick. We traveled through strange seas, with ever changing skies. But one week later we arrived in the Golden City of Amber. Prince Bennedict wasn’t in residence so I found work in the city. For nearly a year I learned of Amber, and the pattern and the Princes of Amber.
When my father did arrive in Amber I made my way to the Castle. When I told them I was, they admitted me relatively quickly. Bennedict acknowledged me as his son in front of King Oberon. Three weeks later I walked the pattern, and worlds opened to me.
I moved among shadows for some time. Of course I returned to Amber every few years but my father and I’s paths never crossed. I aided Uncle Julian in a bandit uprising in the golden circle. It was during this time, that I realized exactly how simple saving mother’s life would have been for Bennedict. Uncle Julian mentioned that he’d heard Bennedict mention me once before I came to Amber.
The anger festered inside me for two years before I saw my father again. There were wars in the Golden Circle, and some of them threatened Amber’s interests. Bennedict lead Amb er’s army’s to victory. At the victory feast, my anger overcame me and I accosted him in the great hall. He deflected my accusations, so I drew my sword. Everyone watched, but he refused to fight. He parried my assaults as I worked myself into a rage. For an hour I attacked him, verbally and physically until I was too drained to continue. And there he stood, unmoving.
I stole his horse that evening, and rode into shadow. Only a day or so previous Oberon had given Prince Random a riding crop, and he used it to catch me for I rode like the wind. We traveled together for a time, I’m not certain why he did. Perhaps he felt sorry for me. It was during this time I discarded my given name and named myself. For I would have nothing given to me by that man. My new name was Pilgrim.
Random left me with my aunt Floramelle in a city called New York. I was still unwilling to return to Amber so for a few years I used her home as a sort of base for my comings and goings.
When I finally returned to Amber father was gone. I refused to go by my prior name, and in time my stubbornness outdid there’s and I became Pilgrim to the family.
Now Random reigns in Amber, and I am his ardent supporter. A new day has dawned above the Golden city, and I will be part of it. And someday, when my father’s star has faded into obscurity and mine shines high he will be pay for his sins.