Monday 27 December 2021

A Glossary of the Amber Court

 Great swathes of time and chaos separate us from even the Age of the Later Court. Much has been lost, the Court itself was swathed in deep secrecy during its Early Period, purely as a matter of survival, and in its Later Period became riven with intrigue, factionalism and obscuration. Nevertheless I can present to you a brief list and explanation of some of the more obvious terms which will directly apply to your studies.  



Needing. A simple catch-all term used by Seers to describe their work in altering Courde or Fate Lines. Anything from the subtlest Notching to the most brutal Galon would be described so, usually within an ‘Atelier’. i.e. “What’s your aiguilletage today?”  



See ‘Haptic Ranks’ 

Broadly responsible for the well-being of an ‘Atelier’ or specific tasked group of Seers. Originally based around consumables, food, shelter for them and their families, though also interrelated with security and perhaps ultimately a political role. Of necessity, the Almoner must be well versed in Amber Court politics. Whether the Almoner is protecting, controlling, imprisoning or supporting the Atelier is up for debate. 



Amber Mystery Disciple

See ‘Ocular ranks' 

The fifth ranked grouping of Amber Court Seers. The last rank at which one would be resident commonly outside the Court itself and the lowest rank at which one might lead an Atelier



Amber Soul Disciple

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The third rank of Seers in the Amber Court. Almost never seen outside the Court itself until the later part of its history and those individuals have their own names and legends. An Amber Soul Disciple would be the leader of at least one Atelier and possibly several. 



A single Seer or a group of such, freed from organisational hierarchies and instructions on where and to what ends they should focus their attention. Very rare at lower levels of the Amber Court but in some sense all highly-promoted Seers attain a degree of Autocephaly in their prognostications, though they are expected to dedicate their secular or Haptic attentions to their Court Duties. 

Since most, perhaps all, highly promoted Seers engaged in meta-prognostication of the groups and matters under their immediate purview, it’s clear that even from the start, any strong divide between secular or ‘haptic’ responsibility and transcendent or Ocular duty, melted away towards the top of the pyramid. 

See ‘Blind Melody Disciple’ for a Court Rank assumed to engage in a high degree of Autocephaly

Degrees of Autocephaly are thought to be one of the main divisions between early Houses




The core organisational grouping of the Amber Court. An Atelier was a group of Seers under the direct instruction of a Seer of Amber Mystery Disciple or Amber Soul Disciple Rank at least. 

Ateliers could be dedicated to particular situations, groups, individuals or fate lines by the Pursuivant or Grand Pursuivant, or might be part of a larger, distributed array of Ateliers working under a common leader of Preceptor level or above, or may even have some degree of Autocephaly. 

One can think of an Atelier as a closed room, or group of chambers in the Amber Court where a select group of Seers gathered to plumb the depths of a specific Warp or Courde. This room, and their work in general, would be separated from the outside world and from the Amber Court as a whole by two guards, the Poignard Disciple within the chamber and the Tyler without. 

Information control was deeply important to the Amber Court and Ateliers were not meant to intra-communicate, neither were the instructions sent to them or the information issuing from them meant to intersect with the instructions or perceptions of any other Atelier except via the correct and singular authorities dedicated to that task. 

In the early years of the Court this method seems to have held largely true (though with some gaps and loopholes even then), by the Later Period the Court was so riddled with intrigue, factionalism and complex webs of meta-prognostication that its widely assumed the Ateliers were “wide open”, though the forms of Poignard Disciple and Tyler were still followed. 




Has very specific meanings highly dependent on context, but very generally, a term used to describe the range of possibilities in which a particular Courde or Warp either express itself, or diverge. (Though, oddly, almost never referring to the Selvage

Usually when referring to a single Courde with a hard Selvage, the bias describes the potential range of ways in which the known fate may be expressed. i.e. if Duke X has a Courde with a hard Selvage in two weeks, but with a great Bias, then the Seer, or Atelier, is strongly certain that this individual will die on or within that timeframe, but very uncertain of how that death may occur. 

Conversely, an uncertain Selvage with a short Bias, would mean that Duke X may live a very long period of time, but when he does die, it is almost certain to be by the method or in the manner predicted. 

When referring to Warps, Fate Lines for larger groupings, the definition and usage of 'Bias' becomes more complex and situational. 



Blind Melody Disciple

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The fourth ranked grouping of the Amber Court. An unusual and unspecific rank. Almost never given leadership roles but neither required to be resident within the Amber Court itself. Blind Melody disciples were expected to rove far and wide across the world, taking on many roles. They may be a form of intelligence agent of direct action operative for the Court, or head up or advise groups of such. 

Technically this should never have occurred as, according to Court Law analysis and effect are separated into the Ocular and Haptic arms of the Court and should not intermix. What 'intelligence gathering' looks like to a society of Seers one can only guess. Some individuals advanced quickly to 'Wild Melody Disciple' rank and remained there all of their lives while others skipped the rank entirely.





Altering or managing the appearance or 'seeming' of events regardless of the Courde, Warp or Fabric. i.e in classic Broderie, the manner or seeming of events might change a great deal but the fate of not one insect will ultimately alter. Seers disagreed deeply on the importance of Broderie, initially it was a low-status art and those of mid to high rank eschewed it, yet ultimately many High Preceptors were initially deeply skilled in Broderie and maintained silence on the subject, speaking neither in defence nor condemnation of the art 



Celestial Master

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Actually the seventh and probably lowest ranked grouping of the Amber Court. Still considered to be by far superior to the common weal of Seers in capacity. A ‘Celestial Master’ might primp themselves about amongst the colleges of lesser Seers who gathered around the Amber Court, particularly in the Later Period, but would ultimately be regarded as an apprentice within it, perhaps a joke by the Rightly-Guided King in this naming. 



Coudre, Thread, Fate 

A Fate line, classically conceived as the destiny of a single individual or some other simple, unitary identity, of perhaps an object, like a sword, or in some rare cases larger identity groups so long as some other very strong element unifies their fate lines i.e. a group of individuals in a single lifeboat on an empty sea, or trying to survive in the snows of Nehei. 




'Priming' Courde, checking for existing Warps and Wefting, if necessary, cutting any warped Courde. Preparing a fate for Alteration. In many cases to Decatize is assumed to be much easier in the case of nonentities, newborns, unimportant individuals they young etc, and to get harder and harder to the degree in which people age, gain status, form connections with others and become more individual. There are however, many counterintuitive examples. Complaints over failures to Decatize proliferate in the Later Period. 




Philosophically the conceptual barrier of inter-related fates beyond which no Seer can meaningfully alter anything. More commonly used in the manner of specific Atelier and Seers remarking on the limits of their own ability regarding a single weave "I/We have hit an edge". 

There were always debates within the Court as to whether there was actually an Edge in the conceptual sense and these ultimately added to the fissured which accelerated the proliferation of Houses and which, in part, defined the structure of the Later Prescience Wars. 




To 'Augille' a Warp into the Fabric, the structure of causality, producing strong feedback loops between the structure of the desired fate and highly non-alterable events, beginning with things like the actions of the sun and stars, vulcanism, etc. Entoilage can effectively seal the fates of large Warps but carries enormous risk as the nature of the feedback loops means that if the Warp does shift, instead of being strengthened by the substructure of Causality, it may instead alter that substructure. 

Entoilage was considered a high and subtle skill for much of the History of the Amber Court. 




Causality. Fate or time itself. The structure and direction of events regardless of human action. Though in many cases Seers will refer to 'Fabric' or 'The Fabric' as being simply a deeper and more certain, less alterable layer of causality than the one they are currently working on. 




A method but more usually described as an action, i.e. “I/he just galoned the fuck out of it. Don’t put it in the report”. 

Jamming a pre-existing small Warp or Courde into another larger warp with little preparation. In a sense a form of crude Entoilage but instead of interweaving the chosen Warp with deep Fabric, one simply appends one smaller Warp to another not much deeper and stronger than itself in the hopes that “Nothing will go wrong”, or if it does, that no-one will notice it was your fault. Carries all of the risks of Entoilage but with much greater chance of failure. 



Grand Pursuivant

See ‘Haptic Ranks’ 

Administrator of all Pursuivants throughout the Amber Court. The seal of the Grand Pursuivant guarunteed physical access to any Atelier, at least technically through the Tyler, though the Poignard Disciple, in thier capacity as member of the Atelier, may potentially deny such access. A rank with only grew in power over the Ages of the Amber Court and which clashed often with the Almoners. 



Great Emptiness Disciple.

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The sixth ranked grouping of Seers of the Amber Court. Little is known of the titles meaning. 



Haptic Ranks 

The procedures of the Court were initially designed to strongly separate the ‘Ocular’ arm, made up of Seers an dealing only in information under highly controlled circumstances, and the ‘Haptic’ arm, made up of non-Seers and largely tasked with the security (and perhaps control) of the Seers and Ateliers

There were many more than described here, including whole schools of Scribes, (its estimated there were perhaps five Scribes for each Seer). More details can be found in the respective entries. 

Almoner – in charge of welfare of Seers or Ateliers

Tyler – originally a guard to the door of an Atelier

Pursuivant – originally a backup to the Tyler or assistance to the Almoner

Grand Pursuivant – Master of Pursuivants 




Seem to be socio-political groupings within the Amber Court itself, crossing between Ateliers and Ranks. In the Early Period of the Court these are referred to as intellectual and philosophical concepts, though in the Later Period they grow both in number and the extent to which they are mentioned. Some later correspondence seems to place the various 'Houses' above even the Ateliers and Preceptors in importance. In either case, little is known of their nature, purpose or views. 


Dominant in the early period and continuing to the middle period; 

The House of Glass

The Bright House

The Tripartate House


Minor or non-existent during the early period, growing in power and dominance from the middle to the Late period 

The Deep House

The Suns Perfection House

The House of Peace

The House of the Orthodox Sun ('New' Bright House)

The Glass Blade (abjured)

The House of Ghosts (abjured)

Final Clarity House

Perfected Mystery House

The Lemniscate House (abjured)

The Ouroboros House (‘New’ Lemniscate, twice-abjured and records purged)

Flowing Blood House (abjured)

House Invisible (denied)

House of Amber Flies (abjured, condemned) 





An action and method; ‘to notch’. 

Cutting or removing fate lines at the 'edge' of a Warp to produce a 'Neat Warp', more stable and less likely to fray and produce Bias. Essentially shifting or breaking the interrelationships at the edge of a shared Warp so that the fate of the Warp is more strongly separated from the common Fabric. A very difficult and subtle art as in many cases, notching can also make a warp unstable, yet to perform it exactly encourages a warp to curl in upon itself yet without any obvious trauma. 



Ocular Ranks

 (counting upwards in importance)


?. Poignard Disciple

7. Celestial Master

6. Great Emptiness Disciple

5. Amber Mystery Disciple

4. Blind Melody Disciple

3. Amber Soul Disciple

2. Preceptor Numinous

1. Preceptor of Glass 



Patron / Plan 

Few Aiteliers would begin the Aguilletage without first assessing the shape of the Corde, Weft, Bias and Selvage. This done they form a collective plan both of the desired fate and of the Aguilletage used to attain it. The nature of these Patron/Patterns/Plans is different for each Aitelier




An expendable Warp, a grouped arrangement of fates used to the point of destruction purely to alter or Decatize the prime Warp or Courde intended. Not always physically destructive as the Court would say, to destroy a fate is not necessarily to destroy the person, (though a fair amount of time it means destroying the person). Intra-Aitelier arguments over Pattemouille could be savage as a Warp carefully conceived by one Aitelier might be used by another simply as Pattemouille by another. 



Preceptor of Glass

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Title of the first rank of the Amber Court. Nothing more is known of them. 



Preceptor Numinous

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Second ranks of the Amber Court Seers. Presumed masters of meta-prognostication. Perhaps allowed to directly advise the Rightly-Guided King. Little is known. 




See ‘Haptic ranks’ 

Has administrative control of entry and exit from the Atelier, though direct control is held by the Tyler and the Poignard Disciple. The Pursuivant might control anything up to a small paramilitary force dedicated to the protection of a specific Atelier or Seer

Pursuivants were initially intended to remain separate to the Atelier and in some sense subservient to the Tyler, initially conceived as little more than armed backup for the Tyler. The appearance in the  Later Court Period of armies of Pursuivants gives the ultimate lie to that. 



Poignard Disciple

See ‘Ocular Ranks’ 

An unusual role of the armed Seer. The Poignard Disciple was initially a low-ranked,  perhaps not even Celestial Master level, member of an Atelier who literally guarded the door from the inside, armed with a Poignard. The same door being guarded from the Outside by the Tyler, an entirely haptic Rank. 

This provided a good opportunity for the Poignard Disciple to learn about the work of the Atelier and also about the structure of the Amber Court. Over time the position clearly changed and was often filled by a wide variety of individuals, becoming more of a role than a rank. 



Point droit 

Jamming something into a Courde or jamming a Courde into or around another at the last minute, either due to failure in planning or unforeseen complexities. If someone Point droits your Courde you will usually know about it. The results are usually ‘Miracles’, truly bizarre coincidences, obvious loops and various other obvious non-causal elements. 

One Atelier requesting a quick "point droit" from another would be regarded an admission of embarrassing failure. However, in later years it is clear that the Almoners were forced to suppress an informal underground 'trade' in Point Droit between Ateliers




The length of a Courde or Warp in time. For an individual, in most cases, the point of death or discorporation, for a group, the point of breaking up, giving up or evaporating, or death. Though as with all court matters, there are subtleties. Death may not be the end of Selvage and Selvage may not end in death. 





if 'Notching' is a subtle and graceful method of separating a chosen Warp from the Fabric and creating a mutually-linked fate, Surfiler is a hasty, even brutal method of sealing a Warp by 'curving back' its edges and using dense, closely arranged fate lines to ensure that no decision pattern allows exit. 

Surfiler was not well regarded and if applied to more intelligent Courde-dwellers, would often produce effects highly noticeable even to those bound within the Fabric, such as individuals and elements leaving and then quickly returning by unusual means, rings and totems being thrown away and then being found in a potato, individuals falling into a river and washing up at the next bridge, individuals being ‘lost in fog’ and returning to wherever they came from. 

Various forms of crude Surfiler were likely elements in simple Hedge Workings. 




They duty of the Tyler was initially to guard the door of the Atelier from the outside with force. In the middle and later court periods the Tyler evolved into a more political role, as opposed to the Pursuivants who eventually became a military force and in competition with the Almoners who maintained a purely administrative authority. Tylers were usually highly competent and intelligent non-Seer individuals who traded both on what they did know and could do and on what they might know and wouldn’t do. 

There is no equivalent role for the later Tylers in other polities. Armed duellist /ambassador/ factotum/ bodyguards? 




A group of unified or grouped Courde or fate lines, as for a city, a village, a family military force etc. A ‘shared fate’, either occurring naturally or Wefted into being. 




To ‘weft’, wefting together. 

Both the means of tying together Courde into grouped fates or Warps and also describing the expressions and extent or 'size' of the resulting Warp

The means of tying together threads into grouped fates or expressions; In Haptic terms, a general recruiting for an army, putting them all in the same uniform and marching them as a unified group to a particular engagement, has 'made weft', but most Seers use 'Weft' to describe the tying together of Fate lines in ways usually not detectable by mortal senses. Wefting can take place long before those involved in it become aware of it. For instance, two boys born far apart but in particular social and personal circumstances may be 'wefted' with a hard bias, to join the aforementioned military group before the general who eventually leads them even conceives of the idea 

The extent or 'size' of the Warp. The number of Fate lines involved; their geographic distance of the individuality of their Fates. To Weft together the fate of a single homogonous village into one Warp is considered relatively simple (the "curse" of Folk Seeing in which a Seer or Wonder-Worker is killed or offended and brutally Wefts their accusers into one Warp with as short Selvage and slim Bias, would be a narrow (easy) weft). 

By comparison, Wefting together highly intelligent and individuated persons scattered across the globe, with highly different world views and aims, into one Warp, would, classically, be a wide (difficult) Weft and an act of great skill. 

 (However, views on this seemed to differ bewteen Houses and many highly ranked Seers disagreed on the relatively difficulty of Wefting)



Monday 20 December 2021

What Reads Like Shit But Plays WELL?

 At some point this blog had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons or something,.. tum te tum the OHHH ESSHH AYR? I think I found those words scratched behind a pillar in a forgotten language in a sertaline dream I had.

In an act of remembrance for whatever this Blog used to be, and out of interest - plumbing, dredging the minds of my audience, and from my own curiosity, I have a query;

What reads badly but plays well?

Here is a picture for you;

Marcel Roux Offering to Moloch, 1908
(ripped off from the blog 'Monster Brains')

A few examples, largely from discussions I have had with friends who read and used things I didn't like the look of. Castle Xyntillan did not appeal to me at all from the text but multiple people have told me "No it plays like hot shit at the table, great fun." Likewise Ravenloft, the villain-is-ASDA-Dracula, sounds awful to me but again many many people say the opposite in play.

(I leave the definitions of "bad", "plays well" and the discussion of what we are talking about exactly (I'm imagining adventures but willing to accept a reasonably wide spectrum of 'similar things' around that), deliberately open. If you want to talk about what 'bad' means to you so you can define it better then do so, please don't argue with each other over definitions of what 'bad' is, its tiring for me.)

Monday 13 December 2021

a footnote on the Water-Horse Wars

 Main Text
Historiographies of the Water-Horse Wars* have waxed and waned like tides from age to age. In the first magisterial histories of the opening battles of the Prescience Wars; "Our World War" by Kausker Wood, "The Dharma of Care", scrolls 3 to 333 by Priest-Viscount Apsanalan, and the epic poem "The Chaos of the Waves" by Chevalier Eastscource-Tan, (a much later work but one drawing upon direct sources long since lost to us), the Water-Horse wars are regarded as the _ending_ of a period, not its start.
For those alive at the time, or recording in the years directly afterwards, it must have seemed that the resolution of these conflicts had brought an end to what Apsanalan called "Our wars of twisted fate"
What few writing at the time could guess, that the shattered Pathist consensus which resulted from the Wars and the long-delayed counter-reaction to their resolution by elements which had so far, played little part, were instrumental in the initial formation the Amber Court of the King Beneath the Time, which would dominate the early-middle period of the Prescience Wars as a whole, and secondly, that the methods used to close the Water-Horse Wars only heralded, in vitro, strategies, weapons and sacrifices that would become all-too commonplace in "The Time of Great Workings"

Sunday 5 December 2021

Who shall rid us of these Seers?

Sitting, as I do in my tower, in the peace and (relative) safety of our twilit Kingdom, in the one-thousand and sixth-hundredth Year of the Sleep, I face the testing question of any History; where to begin?

For if History teaches anything, it is that beginnings are not beginnings and endings not endings. There are no subjects in Nature or chapters in Time.

A question double-mazing for even our memories and records of the Prescience Wars, which raged for uncounted years before the Coming of God and the Years of the Sleep, are partial, deeply affected by the shattering events of the Wars themselves, which sallied forth across the collective unconscious of mankind and  which besieged unreality itself - dragging continents of dream into the waking world, not to mention the ever-partial records and histories which descend to us from those times.

Many great events, strange terrors and storied names pass through those Histories. 

Of the Siege of Red Rock, which hung like a vile tooth in the wounded air, with men climbing and dying like ants as they clambered over the red stone and fell in ropes.

The Synopticated Legion, ever-drumming, their banners and totems glitched and maddening -  for to see their sign and hear their drums was to be infected, altered on the spot, so that one must fight the legion deaf or blind, and how they were fought, and defeated by a general both deaf and mute, who spoke their strategies by touch.

Of the half-fictional armies of the King in Yellow, which could never be defeated while the memory of them remained, (and so still do remain, in-potentia at least).

Of those who made compacts with fire, or who promised the darkness all things.

Of those who raised the dead and the fractured terror-memories that those dead raised, for they had slept beyond the veil and, hearing in their slumber, the music and tapping of that infinite realm, dreamed in their black sleep, things of which the living should have never been aware. Of the Legion of ghosts who moved through nightmares and burst from the mouth of dreamers like vomit.

Of the five hundred sons of the moon who married the sky and who each walked with a star-wife, ladies of constellations, voids of great beauty and inexpressible hunger.

Of the devil-binders who bred with demons, and their self-bound half-demonic daughter-son dauphins, their abyssal half bound by spellcraft in the womb to their mortal flesh.

But History, or at least Historiography, has answered me already, for in all the Chronicles of the Prescience Wars, there is a rare meshing of viewpoint at the start, and while not all historians agree, all at least mention to begin with, "This Plague of Seers", and the birth of the Iron Path, in Albraneth, (a city of which no other record or ruin now remains), in the early morning, on rest-day, the citizens awoke to find, scratched with an arrow-head into the wood of the Temple doors;


"Who shall rid us of these Seers?

they kill the day

our hours are not our own
neither king nor slave
but are a great trikery

that a man shall look at his sufferings as nought but a tumble of dice
his works as the turn of a kard

these reeders of dreems take more than can be took
they whore us to the future and we krawl
they pik the poket and unpik the seem
taking more than is within
leeving less than emptyness
a space which even Nothing passes through

shame shame on the reeders of dreems and the dreemers of deeds

who heer is not among the foul?
who has not feerd its tricks

take the Iron Path

this path is cold but it is pure
the iron path chilleth the soul
but what you have you hold
what you are, you have done
a road not to be tilted or cast aside

and it is Strait
an arrow without twist or branch

let what is, be
let what was, stand
and that which is to be remain unknown

stand for the Iron Path
and water it in the blood of seers
the teeth of witches are its seed
and the ashes of astrolagers charts its soil
shattered bones of prophets are its keys

cursed be all fortune tellers, prognosticators, haruspex,  diviners, soothsayers, oracles, augers, elfin tricksters, ponderers of orbs, changers of fates and reeders of dreems

there is One Fate, One Truth
and it is Iron"

So with these words was the Iron Path born, appropriately enough, in blood. 

The words were discovered first as the sun rose and before the Temple Authorities were even aware of them, had spread throughout the city. Initially the only response was a great gathering of crowds and a general hubbub, fevered discussions in corners, fights in taverns, (which may have a more accurate claim to be the first casualties of the Prescience Wars, though no record remains of the individuals in question). 

By mid-afternoon the Temple Authorities had removed the doors themselves, which proved to be an error they would pay for later that night.

By evening several fights had coalesced into a riot in one part of town. 

It was about this time that the first printed broadsheets bearing copies of "A Plague of Seers", had left the city in the packs and wagons of various merchants and travellers. (For type to be set and printed that quickly some printers must have gone straight from the Temple Doors in the morning to their print shops and begun work immediately).

By this point it is likely that only the destruction of Albraneth and the all remaining copies of, or knowledge of, "The Plague of Seers" could have prevented what was to come.

By nightfall the city authorities lost control of the streets, in part due to several desertions and the evaporation of many formations of the City Watch who had joined the riots they were send to quell.

The pogrom which engulfed Albraneth that night was only a drop of blood compared to the oceans which were to come. Perhaps twenty alleged Seers, along with their families, defenders and a handful of individuals who tried to stop the violence, or who simply got in the way or said the wrong word, were killed, beaten, burnt in their own homes or lynched in the street.

This earnt the Pogrom its tavern name in years to come; "They-Didn't-See-That-Coming-Day".

Though, as the land was to learn much, much later, several of the more capable Seers very much did see it coming, and had fled Albrenath in the hours, days, months and perhaps years preceding the Iron Path massacre.

(The lateness of their leaving Albraneth eventualy became something of a mark of power among Seers, "an hour out of Albraneth" meaning a Seer so weak they could only escape the massacre by the skin of their teeth.)

It would be later still that some began to think in terms of meta-prognostication, and it became evident that "She who sees first, acts last", for among the very last prescient refugees to leave the city were a handful of the most powerful known, disguising the depth of their prescience even from their own kind by the lateness and hurry of their action. Prescience hiding from Prescience itself.

As for the Iron Path, its nature changed and shifted as the Prescience Wars ground on, the massacre became a movement, a cult, a crusade, a philosophy, an alliance of peoples and an alliance of things which were not men. So many changes that Historians could, and still do argue over whether or if one expression of the Path was truly related to another. Yet in whatever form it took, it kept at its heart,  the Canticle of the Temple doors;

"Who shall rid us of these Seers?"