Westray.org Logo

A Time to Seek and a Time to Lose

Steed's Tale - "A Time to Seek and a Time to Lose"

Journal of Prince "Major" Jonathan Steed of Amber:
Based on a Scenario by Cal Rea during Ambercon XII, 2001.

Written by: R. Cal Westray, Jr. in 2001.
Steed's history was written in 1994.

"Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state,
need to be avenged by agents extraordinary..."

Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order): 

Lady Amanda – David Vandenabeele

Her Highness, Princess Azrael, daughter of Julian – Rachael Holmberg

Her Highness, Princess Jessica, daughter of Fiona – Janet Naylor Vandenabeele

Sir Steed – Cal Westray

Prince Torrock, son of Delwin – Joel Trefethren


Family Background:
Mother: Flora of Amber 
Grandmother: Dybele (deceased) Grandfather: Oberon (deceased)
Great-grandmother: Unicorn Great-grandfather: Dworkin 
Father: unknown

Personal History Time Line:

Time conversion: 4 Amber yr. = 10 Earth yr./4 Earth yr. = 1.5 Amber yr.

>Ages 0-10: (1922-1931) (2369-2372 d'L)
Born Jonathan Steed, on February 6, 1922.
Shadow Earth: in Berkshire, England.
>Ages 11-14: (1932-1935) (2373-2374 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Boarding school in Winchester, England.
Amber: Walked the Pattern at 12.
>Ages 15-18: (1936-1939) (2375- 2376 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Eton College, student.
>Ages 19-28: (1940-1949) (2377-2380 d'L)
Shadow Earth: British Royal Navy, title Major.
>Ages 29-32: (1950-1959) (2380-2384 d'L)
Amber Army, title Major. 
>Ages 33-50: (1960-1977) (2385-2390 d'L)
Shadow Earth: Ministry of Intelligence, independent agent.
>Ages 51: (1978-1979) (2391 d'L)
Return to Amber after the Patternfall War ended.
>Ages 52: (1980-1981) (2392 d'L)
In Chaos for exchange program.
>Ages 53-200:
Present, as royal agent for the crown.

Story Background:


Good King Random has ruled the First Realm for 132 years and ruled it well. Over a century of steady advances in art, commerce, culture, shared between Amber and her sister nations. Princess Flora, Lady Chatelaine of the Palace, with her easy grace and winning presence has more than added to this Age of Gold, some say she has been its centerpiece, the King's right hand and trustworthy hostess to the great of a 1000 Shadows.  But now, she has gone missing. Some say she has left out of boredom, wit to pursue her own affairs. Some point to a rumored recent series of arguments with the King behind closed doors. Some claim her disappearance the result of a craven attack by one of the dissidents from the unquiet Shadows near the Empire's edge. There are even whispers that perhaps the Forces of Chaos may have taken a hand in these matters... Whatever the cause, you know that, momentarily, it will be of great concern to you, for what other reason would his Majesty the King have to summon you all to meet with him?


Amber – Amber is the crown jewel of the multi-Shadow hegemony of the Golden Circle. Though Random does not rule any place but Amber directly, his reach extends throughout the Golden Circle and beyond. Amber Town is now a city ten times its original size, with outlying estates that reach to the edge of Arden. The old castle has metamorphosed into Amber Palace, which covers the shoulders of Kolvir with its buildings and courts. Technologically, Amber has advanced into a sort of Victorian Age sans industrialization (coach and four, gas lights, etc.).

Chaos- The Courts do not impinge on the consciousness of the average inhabitant of Amber. Chaos is about as relevant to current world of Amber as China was to Imperial Rome. It’s there; there is some trade (usually through intermediaries); the Royals deal with any necessary interactions. Reputedly, the King of Chaos lies a cloistered existence as a symbol of power and authority and all true governance is done by his Privy Council.

The Trumps – The Trumps of old have been replaced by a new deck, purportedly drawn by the hand of Prince Merlin well over a century ago. Only the members of the Royal Family described below (excluding Caine and including all relevant PCs) are included (along with an updated trump of the Court of Welcome at Palace Amber). In contrast to the Trumps of old, this rendition is structured as more formal state portraits with presentation in a very formal manner (the original paintings hang in the Hall of Attendance fronting the very formal Privy Court).

The Royal Family - If any royal is not addressed below, they are not considered a part of the current royal family. That does not mean they are not present, presumed dead, long term exiles or simply unknown.

His Royal Majesty, Random, King of Amber

Strands of gray in his hair and beard, framing a face showing hard won wisdom and the ghost of a sly smile. He is seated in the Royal Throne, dressed in somber browns and whites under the formal royal mantle of green and white. Across his right arm is the gold, emerald and ruby scepter of his office. On his head is a simple gold coronet set with rubies and emeralds.

Random rules wisely and well. The Amber in which the current generation has been raised is mostly of his construction. Oberon’s rule by the sword and all it represents has passed to Random’s rule by the scepter. Law has replaced force as the primary means of governance, though at something of a price. Random is somewhat less personally involved in his realm than his predecessor. A necessary consequence of the manner in which he is king.

Her Serene Majesty, Vialle, Queen of Amber

Her hair is bound in a silver hair net under an equally silver coronet with mother of pearl insets, set with sapphires and emeralds. Her face radiates ease and her unseeing eyes, comfort. She wears a high collared, formal Rebman gown of silver and green over which she is draped in an abbreviated mantle in royal green and white. She stands behind and to the right of the Royal Throne.

Vialle is the Mother to Random as Father of the Realm. She is seen as the mediating influence that created the beloved monarch from the roguish prince. She is seen as her husband’s ultimate supporter. Like Random, though, she has been confined by the position they created, so she is no longer seen as approachable. Like her husband, she is beloved by the people of Amber and elsewhere, but she, also like he, is loved from afar.

His Royal Highness, Martin, Prince Regnant of Rebma and Heir of Amber

He looks much like a younger (and beardless and slightly larger) version of his father, standing behind and to the right of the Royal Throne. His coronet is obviously a thing of Rebma, all silver sea shells, pearls, mother of pearl and coral insets. He wears a great medallion of silver and emeralds showing the Unicorn rampant matching his abbreviated royal mantle of green and white.

Prince Martin is the loyal son and heir. He is also more approachable than his father and guards himself from being used too often as a conduit to the King, even by his relatives. Though he performs all of his royal duties admirably, those few who know him, know him to be private person. When not engaged in his duties as heir, he retreats to his estate near the borders of Arden where he pursues his personal interest in music and art. His title to Rebma is largely ceremonial (think ‘Prince of Wales’). Though he technically reigns there, it is Llewella who does most of the ruling.

His Highness, Prince Benedict

Dressed in strange robes of gray, tan and brown, he sits holding a simple ceramic bowl filled with water. On the water floats a beautiful flower blossom. His outward gaze is so intent that his eyes cannot be met, even though it is just an image.

Benedict is very much an outsider and has been for some time. It is rumored that he rules a magnificent empire far larger than the Golden Circle far, far out in Shadow. On his rare appearances in Court he is accompanied by an entourage of figures as strangely dressed as he, who seem to defer to him to the point of worship.

His Highness, Prince Bleys

Impeccably dressed in fine clothes of red, orange and yellow that either transcend or, perhaps, define fashion. His trimmed full beard and mustache frame a smiling mouth. He holds a golden goblet in his be-ringed and upraised right hand. In his left, he holds the hilt of his golden sword, blade resting along his arm like a scepter. Though his sash is a gold chastened flintlock pistol.

Bleys spends most of his time amusing himself in Shadows beyond the Golden Circle. Of course, he also spends time amusing himself in the Golden Circle as well. He avoids formal functions at all costs, which means he is almost never present at the Court in Amber proper.

His Highness, Prince Corwin

Arms crossed, radiating something akin to impatience, his black and silver clothing seems somehow both antiquated and timeless. He wears no martial accoutrements, but appears poised for action of some sort.

More rarely seen than Benedict, Corwin is barely known to the people of Amber. By most he is thought to be dead. (There is, after all, that tomb). When he does appear, it is always to some particular purpose. He sees who or what he is there for and then leaves as abruptly as he came. He is not known to have visited for more than a decade. His chronicles are widely known and considered essential reading for understanding of the events of Patternfall (even if many consider the perspective somewhat biased).

His Highness, Prince Delwin, Prime Minister of Ardebal

His rust colored hair is longer than is the fashion in Amber and his temples are gray. His face is beardless and seems preternaturally calm and collected; his hazel eyes focused intently on the middle distance. His conservative clothes in dark brown and whites are partially covered in a short formal robe in deepest red. His hands are clasped before him, holding a book which they almost obscure but a viewer can see glimpses of its red and gilt cover.

Delwin and his sister Sand arrived out of Shadow soon after the commencement of Random’s reign. Though he spent some time at court, he was soon off pursuing his own interests in the Golden Circle. He finally settled in the highly commercial Shadow of Ardebal and was soon able to join their Congress of Syndics, eventually becoming their Prime Minister, a position he has held for over half a century. He married Genasse, the heir to the greasiest fortune in Ardebal, over twenty years ago (in Amber), providing the impetus for the last family gathering before the birth of Juliana to Rinaldo and Nayda. Strangely, he has not used his Amberite heritage to make Ardebal an independent nexus within the Golden Circle like Amber, Kashfa or Orgental.


Her Highness, Princess Fiona

Dressed in the intricate and beautiful clothes of the southern Shadow in which she spends most of her time, she neither smiles nor frowns, in a manner that would make the Mona Lisa jealous. Her red, red hair is confined in an elaborate golden hair net studded with purple, blue and red gems. She is pictured seated, hands clasped in her lap, partially concealed by her half cape with its minutely detailed and copious embroidery.

Fiona does not frequent the Court as much as she used to. She spends much of her time in the Golden Circle Shadow from which her mother hailed on a very opulent and remote estate. She does attend formal occasions but never stays long. She is rumored to have had a falling out with Princess Florimel after a long period of close companionship. There is no evidence to support this based on their public interactions, but then, there wouldn’t be, would there?

Her Highness, Princess Florimel, Lady Chatelaine of Amber

Hair bound in a net of red gold that somehow both contrasts with her hair and vanishes against it; she sits in a beautiful court dress of blue-green and indigo. She is partially covered in a fine mantle of a shade one color darker than the indigo in her dress, shot through with fine threads of silver and gold, sparkling like a starscape. On her brow, a simple golden diadem with the horns of the crescent moons pointing upwards.

Flora is the goodwill ambassador to the Shadows of the Golden Circle and beyond. She is as much responsible for the current state of affairs as Random. She was instrumental in redesigning the town into a city and the castle into a palace. Though Random has been the head and heart of the realm, in many ways, Flora has served as his hand, lending her own flair the execution of the changes in Amber. Though the King and his immediate family are loved far and wide for what they symbolize, Flora is loved by the people for herself.

His Highness, Prince Gérard, Lord High Admiral of Amber

Large, and powerful, with a full beard and mustache. He is wearing a feathered hat and voluminous doublet, both of blue and gray. He holds a sextant in one powerful gloved hand while the other rests on the hilt of a mighty golden sword. Around his neck, on a cord, is a silver hunting horn and thrust through his wide black belt is a flintlock pistol. His mouth and eyes are both smiling.

Gérard is responsible for the well being of the realm, as it is he that protects the sea-lanes that tie the Golden Circle together. Though he spends much of his time at sea throughout the Golden Circle, he splits his shore time between Amber City (he has quarters in town at the Admiralty and rooms at the Palace) and at the Citadel of Orgental, a nexus point from which he has laid down sea lanes to many Golden Circle worlds. His responsibilities do not seem to trouble him overmuch. He is always there for his men and for his family.

His Highness, Prince Julian, Lord High Warden of Arden

His visage could be described as grim, at best; his eyes almost smolder with some carefully hemmed-in emotion. His brown hair is gathered into a long ponytail hanging over his right shoulder. He wears his famed white amour with two white-enameled flintlock pistols thrust through the white sash. Both gauntleted hands rest on the hilt of a silver sword.

Julian has made himself an outsider, even as close as he is to the heart of the Realm. Arden is a forbidding place and all who venture in must do so with his permission or suffer the usually dire consequences. Even the roads through Arden to and from Amber remain open only so long as suffers them to do so.

Her Highness, Princess Llewella, Vicereine of Rebma

Seated on the throne of Rebma, holding its scepter of sapphire and silver in her hands, she appears the epitome of stately grace. Her silver gown is simple, as is her diadem of silver and pearls decorated with the silver cockleshells symbolizing her realm. Her green hair is worn loose and long and floating about her. Her expression is grave, but not forbidding.

When Moire stepped down from the throne in favor of her grandson, Martin immediately offered the crown to his aunt. She declined that honor, but accepted when her offered her Regency of Amber’s Reflection. Llewella spends most of her time in Rebma, as she always has, though she is present at all functions in which it is appropriate for her to appear.

His Highness, Prince Merlin, Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Courts of Chaos

If Corwin radiates impatience, Merlin radiates bemusement. Like his father, his arms are crossed and he shows no implements of war. Unlike his father, he wears a short beard and his purple and black clothes seem more in fashion. On his left hand are two rings with stones of purple and blue. Around his neck is heavy silver chain of office holding a medallion bearing a coat of arms, Amber’s Unicorn in green and white charged with the Serpent of Chaos in red and black.

Seldom present at court, Merlin is something of a man of mystery to most Amberites. When he does appear it is much in the same vein as his father’s visits, very focused, though he does make time for Martin (when he’s around) and for the King and Queen. He is the only Royal who deals regularly with Chaos. It is often difficult to Trump him, presumably because of the distance between Amber and the Courts. Many things are attributed to Merlin, but few can pin him down to more than a smile as to what is true and what is fiction. Most students of the era doubt the veracity of the Chronicles he supposedly wrote. He neither denies his writing or offers support of their contents.

His Majesty, Rinaldo, King of Kashfa

Seated on his throne, his manner seems open, though he has on hand on the hilt of a golden blade instead of the scepter born by other family rulers. His simple crown is of gold set with rubies and topaz and he wears a chain of office holding a medallion depicting a phoenix. Like Random he wears a royal mantle of red and gold over one shoulder. His beard makes him look like a crooked-nosed, burlier version of Bleys.

Kashfa is a important member of the Golden Circle. The Amberite Blood of its ruler enables it to be a nexus of cross travel roads, much like Amber and Orgental. Rinaldo and his queen, Nayda, rule wisely and well. Many liken them to a "never-was" in which Random met his Vialle earlier in life. Though he does participate in "family matters," it is obvious to all that he considers Kashfa his primary personal responsibility. Rinaldo and Nayda were blessed with the birth of a daughter and heir, Juliana two years ago, which served as the last impetus for a general family gathering (and in Kashfa, for once, not Amber). As a reminder, to stay on his good side, don’t call him a "pattern ghost" or imply that his wife is a demon.

Her Highness, Princess Sand, Lady General of the Armies of Amber

Her appearance mimics that of her twin, Delwin, though her much longer rust colored hair is thrown over her right shoulder in a braid and her eyes, more green than hazel, flash fire with their directness. She is dressed in a uniform, obviously that of Amber itself with its green and white and gold. The uniform is both formal in its braids and flourishes and practical in its inclusion of armor as a part of its design. Her arms are crossed across her chest, the right holding a saber, the left a flintlock pistol. Another pistol is stuck through her sash. She has a feral smile on her face.

Sand arrived with her brother Delwin, but has had as much and as little to do with him as with any other of her siblings since. Her other brothers and sisters have long left off marveling at her change in demeanor. Sand is the leader of Amber’s armies, at one time not much of fighting force compared to Gérard’s marines or Julian’s rangers, but she has made them a crack special operations force for pursuing the Royal agenda both within and without the Golden Circle. She has maintained the army like this for over a century.

CainePrince Caine is reputed to have died some time ago. This does not seem to have kept him from re-appearing from time to time. While this "apparition" looks like Caine, he definitely seems the worse for wear, long bearded, hollow faced, faded and patched clothing. He appears unexpectedly in strange places. Sometimes he leaves immediately, though the means are always suspect upon further examination. Other times he makes cryptic pronouncements before vanishing.

The BooksCopies of the Chronicles of Corwin and those of Merlin are available to members of the Royal Family. They are considered first person accounts of the troublesome times two centuries ago, but are not considered necessarily the most accurate information available. For instance, Rinaldo takes it very dimly if someone calls him a "Pattern Ghost."

Steed's Story:


Back Link ButtonHome Page Link ButtonAmber Link Button


R. Cal Westray, Jr.
Revised: January 29, 2009.

Westray.org - Copyright © 2001-2011 - All Rights Reserved