All Roads Lead to Amber
“I make my own luck.”
Second child of Oberon and Cymnea, Marek was always a distant but notable presence in the family. As different from Hexion, his older brother, as night can be to day, Marek took nothing seriously, and spent his time in more pursuit of leisure than mastery of the blade. He was always quick with a laugh, and quicker with a baited comment that might challenge a sibling, and he was always, always lucky. He kept his distance from the younger siblings, but was always there when needed, with a clever remark and a flashing blade. Everything Marek did, he did with style.
All along, though, he was hiding a secret. He had been plotting revolution against his father for a very long time, a rebellion he finally brought to bear under the guise of Talon. He led the Sorcerer’s Rebellion in the largest war Amber has ever known, a war which ended with his death at the hands of Oberon.
Marek was tall and slim, with lightly olive skin and dark brown hair. A small, meticulously trimmed goatee sat on his chin, and he had inherited his father’s striking green eyes. He dressed typically in loose fashions that changed from situation to situation, often modified through clever use of Pattern or sorcery. His hair was typically cut short, and was worn unstyled. He grinned more than he smiled, and his presence was always two parts mischief, and one part smoothness. His personal symbol was a pentacle made of silver swords, point to hilt, on a field of gray.
Marek was at his core a master of improvisation. For a sorcerer, he showed an unusual reliance of making things up on the fly, and always having an ace up his sleeve when necessary. When someone in the family was in trouble, he had a near uncanny knack of arriving just in the nick of time to bail them out of trouble. He even kept his own private Shadow open to the travels of his siblings, even as it changed from age to age. Ultimately, though, his war served to show both how much he had kept his siblings at arm’s length, and how little he really did know about his family and their capabilities. Marek was a trickster and a rogue, and always had one more trick up his sleeve. As he would have put it, sometimes, your luck just runs out.
The Sorcerer’s Rebellion
Starting in the century after Faeilla’s death, Marek began moving to gather power throughout Shadow. He found a Shadow of Destiny, which would attract and produce sorcerers of power. There, Marek returned regularly, hunting down the best and most powerful sorcerers. He would defeat them in single combat, and seal them away through his own sorcery to be used later. One by one, Marek built himself an army. He was content to simply gather his forces, waiting for some point in the future until the disappearance of Dworkin.
With Dworkin’s disappearance, Marek began acting on his plan. He started releasing his sorcerers, as needed, to infiltrate various key positions throughout the Golden Circle. Meanwhile, he completed his masterpiece in forging the Gauntlet of Sorcery, and he began gathering a massive navy in Shadow. By Shadowwalking to several places, he managed to gather a truly massive fleet of ships, already armed and equipped with loyal soldiers. Using his sorcery, he moved them to various boltholes throughout the more outlying areas of the Golden Circle, and he waited. He needed one more piece to move into place, and that piece came in the form of Circe.
Circe had the charts to the Shadow water ways into and out of Amber, and throughout the Golden Circle. Under the guise of Talon, a persona he had created when he first began dueling sorcerers, he approached Circe, and swayed her to his side. With the charts of the Golden Circle in hand, Marek struck all the outlying Shadows simultaneously in a bold gamble of force, but also as a cunning act of misdirection. Marek launched a much smaller assault on Kashfa, while sending Shadow-born assassins at his siblings. He staged an attack on himself to shift blame, and once he had recovered, he reconvened with his forces in Kashfa. They had taken the Well of Magic, and everything was set.
In the weeks to follow, Marek played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the rest of his siblings, removing Hexion from the battle, and being joined by Circe. He did all that he could to break the will of Amber, and to tire out Oberon, before making the final assault on the castle. Emerson du Lac and Crystal Thessala held the majority of the defenses of the realm, and as he made his final assault, he sent Circe to clean up the loose ends of the sorcerers who had outlived their purpose. In Arden, a distractionary force managed to only hold the attention of Amon, and deal extensive damage to the forest. Marek himself personally launched an assault on Amber, and engaged Oberon in personal combat. That was a mistake.
Oberon was neither amused nor tired by his son’s rebellion. As the fight turned very quickly against Marek, he turned to what he felt was his last ace in the hole: the Blood Curse. Oberon laughed it off, claiming that it meant nothing to him. Marek managed to teleport out, back to Kashfa, critically wounded. Shortly thereafter, Circe was captured by the forces of Amber, and Oberon tore Kashfa out of the Golden Circle, and destroyed once and for all. Marek was presumed dead with the Shadow.
Survival and Return
Fate, it would seem, was not finished with Marek just yet. More than a century after his apparent death, Emerson began to receive visions of a man being tortured terribly in a place filled with white mists. The man was chained to a rock, while strange creatures would cut out his kidneys and liver and eat them, again and again. The man seemed to be the only one capable of noticing Emerson, and when he did so, he called out for help. The visions grew stronger and stronger, until Emerson was able to reach the man, break him free of the chains and flee. The man, greivously injured and seemingly unstable in reality, begged for Emerson to take him away. They walked through Shadow, guided by the will of the man, until they reached a ruin of a world and a museum there.
The museum contained relics of various ages, all tied to one figure that seemed to change its face and appearance. In the center of the exhibit, a golden sword lay on display. The man from the rock broke the display grabbed the sword, and ran himself through. There was a burst of power, and a strange golden light enveloped the man. When it passed, he was fully healed, but had no memories. Determined to find out what sort of world they were in, the man and Emerson proceeded to explore the Shadow, doing battle with the resident sorcerers of power there. The man began to call himself Drake, to make light of the supposed ‘Dragon Kings’ of the apocalyptic wastes, and for a while, they simply adventured while Drake attempted to regain his memories. Emerson was trumped by Rosaline while they were there, and she recognized Drake for who he truly was. She knew him to be Marek, the brother they had all thought lost.
Drake pieced enough of it together to know that Rosaline knew who he was. He confronted her, and convinced her to help him get his memory back. With Emerson’s help, the three of them travelled to Rebma, and there he was recognized by his long-term dalliance, Queen Moire. Her joy at seeing Marek alive and well, if in amnesia, was boundless. Once Drake had rested, he went with the Queen and his siblings to the Pattern of Rebma, and assayed it. Standing at its center, Marek had his memory restored. His first question was to Emerson, to make sure that Circe was still alive. He then forgave Emerson for the battle that had nearly killed him at the end of his rebellion. He then turned to Rosaline, and swore that she would regret not killing him when she had had the chance. With that, he vanished.
He returned to a Shadow he had set up a long time ago, to serve as a place of rest and preparation. Once he was ready, he left to seek out Circe. He arrived in time to help her and Crystal defeat a trio of Chaos Lords from House Hydra. After teleporting Crystal out, Marek and Circe embraced and kissed. She told him of all the trials she had endured, not quite believing herself to not be dead. He spoke that his work was just beginning, and that he needed her boat. He promised that he would come back for her, and she lent to him the Umbral Stalker. From there, he teleported her to safety, and began to sail down the Black Road, towards a foe that, if his words are true, threatens all of Shadow itself.
War of the Black Road and the Fall
Marek’s whereabouts for the majority of the War of the Black Road were mostly unknown. What accounts can be gathered together placed him literally all over Shadow, nearly constantly moving and pursued by strange, otherworldly agents. It became known that he was seeking copies of the apocrypha of the Book of the Unicorn, convinced that Dworkin had left clues behind for a weapon that would be necessary in defeating a great evil that would soon threaten all of Shadow. The exact nature of that threat, he would not elucidate out of some fear that doing so would bring it about. During this time, he seemed to have a knack in showing up in the strangest of places, speaking a few cryptic phrases, and then disappearing once again.
This period of wandering came to an end shortly before the Fall of the Black Road when he was again reunited with Circe, who was carrying Clarissa after Mandor’s gambit in the Grove of the Unicorn. He warned Circe of the great storm coming, and they set off together on the Umbral Stalker to try to get ahead of it. With the death of the Serpent, and the reforging of the Logrus and the rise of the new Pattern, all of Shadow was separated by massive Shadow storms. In a distant Shadow, still near Amber, Circe, Marek, and Clarissa found themselves marooned, far from the machinations of their siblings, and seemingly free from Marek’s pursuers. In the Shadow Tambrescia, the two itinerant lovers settled down, as much as a pair with their temperaments could. In the first decade, they focused primarily in raising and healing Clarissa from her suffering at the hands of the Eye of the Tempest, and once she was a whole person again, Marek resumed his wandering. Restricted to the Shadow they were in, Marek still sought out distant shores and dangerous excitements. To the somewhat chagrin of Circe, Marek’s sabbaticals would eventually reach months in length, but he still made certain to always spend more time with his love and neice turned adopted daughter than away from them.
Actor: Oded Fehr