In “The Visual Guide to Castle Amber”, various members of Amber are interviewed and asked a number of questions. These are Damarian’s answers.
In lieu of a personal interview, as I was away from the castle when the tour was given by the gracious Flora, I have responded to the written questions you have provided.
1) My most trusted friend? Very few of Amber will fully trust another. (Corwin trusted others, even some of his brothers and sisters, but then Corwin was always a special exception.) I follow that dictum. I have several friends, even among my cousins, but I do not fully trust them, or anyone else fully, nor does anyone fully trust me, a fact of which causes me little concern.
However, I would trust cousin Bronwyn with my life, as I have done in the past, and she has reciprocated that act, but we are not close friends, although that may change in the future. I believe that she and I share a common love of Amber and a desire to maintain it, plus little or no interest in upsetting the current status quo.
As for my most valuable ally, it would have to be the Court Bard, Greg Paxton. We share a sufficient number of interests that we are well disposed towards each other, and, because of the difference between our stations, he is unlikely to be able to use our friendship to seriously damage me or anyone else. As he is the court musician, he has Random’s ear at times, which I find sometimes useful, and he is also a excellent source for court gossip. I trust him, because I believe that trust cannot be used against me or those things I treasure, but the difference between our stations or abilities does not permit us to be friends. I couldn’t trust Paxton with my life, as he is hardly in a position of or a possessor of sufficient power to be able to defend it adequately if required.
2) I have little interest in revenge. I usually hold myself above petty vengeance taking, however much it soothes the immediate pain, because I have found that it only generates further violence and bloodshed in the long run. If I must say that I have pattern of revenge, it would be simply outliving the offending party. Very little can hold me to a single Shadow, so I can always leave the presence of the offending party, should I desire.
That is not to say that I will not defend myself, but defending ones self against a present foe is quite different from confronting one who has done me wrong in the past, but who is not an immediate or future threat.
3) When I was much younger, growing up in the shadow where my mother Fiona left me for so many years, I was feared. Or rather, she was feared, and I assumed much of that mantle as a protective device. So I have been feared, and I find it to be a very boring existence indeed. No one to talk to, no one to share confidences with, all because you don’t know how the people will act or react. Therefore, I have no great wish to be greatly feared.
However, I have made little attempt to be loved, either. Being loved usually demands that one be of a particular nature to be loved, and it usually demands that one love others in return. Since such a particular nature is not a great part of my basic character, I find that I am not well loved, nor do I have any great wish to be.
I am respected and liked by many of those around me, which does afford some pleasure and utility. I do not have to constantly prove my capabilities and I am left to go my own way as an adult and scion of the blood of Amber. I would suppose that I would prefer to being loved as opposed to being hated, because at least people would be much less prone to insert a knife between my ribs. Failing either, I would most prefer to be left alone, but unfortunately trouble dogs the paths of all children of Amber at times, so solitude is sometimes a fleeting thing.
4) When I was at the age of ten, I was several years into being an exception. I was also developing into a sneak. You must understand that all power is held by the women of my home Shadow, and the males have only their own menial place in society and they do not stray from it. This includes an injunction against the learning the arts of battle, both physical and psychic. Given my status as my Fiona’s son, and her reputation and temper, I was given such leeway that I was able to spy on the guards at weapons training and the matrons being lectured on psychic powers. It was a game, played against the disapproving matrons and guardians that stood watch over me in Fiona’s absence. I was thus able to learn the art of the sword, at least to Amber’s standards, and began to develop my psychic skills, as befits a child of Fiona, both things forbidden to other males.
For several years surrounding this time my day would start out before breakfast, sneaking out to watch the guards at morning practice. I watched and learned how to handle a blade long before I ever held one in my hand. Usually I returned to my room before the servants came with my meager breakfast, but they were quite aware of where I had been. Still, they would not speak of it, because they saw me as one who could experience for them the vicarious pleasures denied them because of their sex. After this came my lessons, mostly in literature and music. I was to be a cultured male, at least that was the way my guardians saw me. Mathematics, logic, and philosophy were added later, when it was decided that I could be taught them without seriously damaging the society.
Afternoons were varied: many times I went riding in the forest close to our castle. Other times I sneak off to watch the older women practice their psychic powers in the stone circle in the hills above the castle. I would also practice my sword skills against the sturdy trees with a length of wood.
After dinner there were various forms of entertainment. Bards were popular, and I sang there, too, once my voice had changed. Roving bands of jugglers, acrobats, and musicians would perform to great applause. These were the freest men in the world, yet they, too remained well under the thumb of the women who ran the shows.
Of course, all of this changed those days when Fiona was in residence. She would command the place, and all of the women would stand subdued in her presence. I would stand before her, to tell her how my lessons were progressing and how much I was enjoying myself here, and she would tell me portions of what she had been doing, what intrigues she had carried out, and what Shadows she had seen. We both lied to each other, and we both knew the other lied, but the forms were still carried out. I grew envious and expectant about Shadow, and longed to reach the age when I would walk the Pattern myself. Those days after Fiona left were the hardest for me.