Today I look out on the lands I rule, and I can think only one thing.
"Chaos is the asshole of the universe."
Not very nice thing for a king to say about his own homeland, I know, but hey, I'm the king. Allow me my cynical moments. I'm not the king of some pretty castle with gardens and cute maids flitting about. I have deamons and weird chaotic growths and the children of my enemies to keep me company.
How did I get here?
I always knew who my father was. The infamous Corwin of Amber, sword master, words master. My mother was the descendant of the blademaster Benedict. She was preened to rule Amber, I was preened to rule Chaos. Well, at least by my house. In reality, the rest of Chaos had other ideas, which left me something like 40th on the list of the succession. Comfortable that my mother could chase her paper dreams without really hoisting any responsibility on me, I studied what I wanted. A bit of sorcery, a bit of trump, some sword play... Nothing too serious, though. I wandered the shadows, even visited the guilded cage of shadow earth for a while.
Mom failed at getting on the throne. Corwin wanted nothing to do with her, and after his murder of Borel, she wasn't all that hot on him either. So all her attentions got focused on me. I don't think it would have gotten too far had Mandor not gotten involved.
Mandor loves power. More than that, he loves other people's power. They take all the risk, he gets all the rush. And lets face it, I'm the perfect pretty boy for his front. Charismatic, talented enough not to be a fool, yet not so powerful I was better than him. So he joined forced with Dara and helped... encourage my accent to the throne. Still, I was way, way down on the list, so I felt myself safe.
Never underestimate the lure of power.
The halls of Chaos ran thick with blood spilled by my kinsmen's hands. When the king finally died (thank the Serpant of natural causes) I was next in line.
Now I had not been trained to hold a crown. I get really bad hat hair. I hate long ceremonies. I hate overly fancy clothing. But people seemed to like me anyway. There were only a dozen or so attempts on my life, and when the line behind me started to mysteriously diminish, all threats tapered off. Most of Chaos supported me... or rather they supported the pretty boy in front of Mandor and Dara, the people they truly respected. Some hadn't given up hopes of setting Dara on Amber's throne, and well, everyone liked Mandor, or were at least smart enough to pretend.
They would advise me who to promote, who to demote, what to attack, etc. At first it seemed okay. I got plenty of neat perks being king, and they ran things. It's not so unusual, really. This is the way most of Chaos is run. We just love our figureheads.
For a time I enjoyed my position as glorified diplomat, but when Dara and Mandor attacked a helpless shadow for trade reasons, I cut their tenure short. Mom could have killed me (Bless the castle guard), but Mandor understood in his aloof way. They removed their presence from the castle, and I became a real king that day. I figured I was smart enough to pull off the job. I hadn't been completely asleep while on the throne for five years. And hey, Chaos seemed to love me. We very rarely had to behead assassins.
How wrong was I...
They didn't love me, they loved Dara and Mandor running me. Overnight I lost most the support in Chaos, and worse yet, in my courts. After unearthing conspiracy after conspiracy in my court, I decided to give the place a makeover. I threw out all the older dissidents and hired all the young upstarts in the highest houses. There was one place I hadn't lost support. Most younger Chaosites loved me because I did what they wanted to do: tell their elders to screw off. With my younger court I felt at least a bit safer at home, which helped me concentrate on being a king.
I'm not going to say I've been a perfect king. I've been good enough to win back a large chunk of support, as tenuous as it is. At least I can point out that I'm close Amber. Never hurts to have a heavy backing you up.