Amber: All Roads End
The Courts of Chaos
“A den of vipers. A nest of traitors. They pick at each other’s carrion like a murder of dead crows, hungry for the vitreous humors of their own flesh. They are the Enemy. They are the Anathema.” – The Book of the Unicorn
The Courts of Chaos have stood for countless epochs, and may stand for countless more. Bound by the Code of Uthor, the Lords of Chaos weave their internecine conflicts with each other, offering friendship and treachery with even hands. Organized by the only law they respect into Houses, they pay heed to the Throne of Chaos in Firegate, and gather to compete and interact with the others of their rank. All of power in the Courts descend from the First, the creator of the Logrus, and all carry the blood of Chaos in their veins. Theirs is the oldest mastery of Shadow, and their patron is the Serpent.
A House of Chaos is led by Duke or Duchess. In order to be considerd such, they must control a primal shadow, and several shadows around it, woven together through the Black Roads. Once a Lord of Chaos can prove himself in possession of such, they can petition for peerage among t he Houses. The largest of Houses are not always the oldest, but they are the most formidable.
House Swayville: The Royal House. Only some of them know the location of the Logrus and have control of it via Suhey Swayvil, the Master of the Logrus. This is why they are the Royal House. Assaying the Logrus is a privilege granted by the Crown to individuals, it is not a right. They discovered the Logrus and despite their best efforts, no other house has ever discovered it’s true location. They know more of its secrets than any other house, even Helgram
House Sawall: Once the Royal House of Chaos, it was led by Duke Mandor Sawall, brother to the High King Swayville. Its symbol is a black rook, on a field of red, above an intricate knot which represents the Logrus. The House was founded by Suhuy the Black, and was made into the Royal House when King Uthor took Suhuy’s daughter, Clyraestra, as his bride.
House Hendrake: Founded by the deceased Duke Hendrake, this house is led by his son, Duke Romas Hendrake. While not as populous as its rival, House Hydra, House Hendrake boasts instead the greatest soldiers in Chaos. Led into battle by the Courts own Master of Arms, Lord Henrick Hendrake, there are few whose blood does not run cold when the shadow of Hendrake’s dragon cavalry passes overhead. Its symbol is a red serpent, coiled as if to strike, upon a field of gold.
House Baator: Once a House known for the skill of its Trump artists and sorcerers, House Pandre has seen better days. After its participation in the Shadow War, it held the dubious honor of being the first House to test its mettle against Avalon. For this achievement, it has been granted the provision of guarding against Avalon, and protecting Chaos’ interests there. Currently on its third Duke in as many years, House Pandre is led more by its mysterious Salon than any other faction. It continues to provide the majority of Trump based items in Chaos’s ranks, but there are many younger houses looking to tear this once giant down. Its symbol is a gold eight-pointed star on a field of purple.
House Helgram: The youngest of the major Houses, House Engrave has risen to prominence nigh solely by the actions of its ambitious Duchess, Ygrette Engrave. Duchess Engrave has made herself indispensable in the machinations of the Court, as she controls the single largest web of spies in all of Chaos, and all are intensely loyal to their Duchess. How could they be otherwise, as they are all creatures of her blood, crafted expertly through extensive genetic engineering, sorcery, and shapeshifting. Her House consists of several minor Lords and Knights, but mostly of simply herself. One never knows if one is speaking with the Duchess or with one of her blood-crafted clones, but the end result proves the argument moot. Duchess Ygrette is House Engrave. Her symbol is a pair of blue eyes on a field of silver.
House Nihilanth: Skilled sorcerers and Logrus masters, House Nihil exists without being too great, never succeeds too much, and never cares for glory. While listing the Great Houses of Chaos, House Nihil is even forgotten at times, despite holding its origins as one of the first Houses of Chaos. While its duties are primarily to protect and interpret the Code of Uthor, this role has been usurped primarily by House Sawall since the death of High King Kronos. Duke Thoorian Nihil controls his House quietly, and they keep to the sidelines in most major conflicts. They simply record what happens, so that it might be remembered. Their symbol is a black eagle, passant, on a field of gold.
There are a good two dozen other major Houses and nearly two hundred minor Houses..