the Enigmatic City

"Everything was to be seen through a green haze. There were buildings, all of them fragile and most of them high, grouped in patterns and standing in colours that that entered my eyes and tore through my mind, seeking after remembrance."

". . . Inside the city, we were conducted up a wide avenue, lighted by pillar flames set at even closer intervals than on Faiella-bionin, the people stared out at us from behind octagonal tinted windows, and bright-bellied fishes swam by. There came a cool current, like a breeze, as we turned a corner; and after a few steps, a warm one, like a wind."

'Nine Princes in Amber', Chapter V

Rebma is such an enchanting part of the Corwin series- and what a quietly awesome place it is.
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We see several strong elements of Rebma that are "inverted mirror states" of Amber:

The complexity of Rebma, the sensuous realization of its power to compel us, is nowhere realized as strongly as in the Queen of Rebma.

"A woman sat upon the throne in the glassite room I almost recalled, and her hair was green, though streaked with silver, and her eyes were round as moons of jade and her brows rose like the wings of olive gulls. Her mouth was small, her chin was small; her cheeks were high and wide and rounded. A circlet of white gold crossed her brow and there was a crystal necklace about her neck. At its tip there flashed a sapphire between her sweet bare breasts, whose nipples were also a pale green. She wore scaled trunks of blue and a silver belt, and she held a scepter of pink coral in her right hand and had a ring upon every finger, and each ring had a stone of a different blue within it."


And in Moiré's own words. . .

"Therefore, I will punish thee . . . You shall marry the woman of my choice and remain with her in my realm for a year's time, or you will forfeit your life."

In the Eternal City campaign, Queen Moiré and Rebma play a strong part in the policies; present and future involving Amber. Perhaps because Rebma has a better grasp of the past of both cities; and their secrets.

Queen Moins did not outlive Oberon, and Moiré became Queen when Llewella stepped aside. Young Moiré held her own with King Oberon across decades; therefore, it is easy to see that Moiré has much more experience than Random. The queen also has Llewella as an active supporter, and the support of a Pattern-initiate negates much of Amber's traditional advantage over Rebma.

As everyone says, "Llewella has no strong love of Amber."

Llewella is also several steps older than nearly all of the remaining Royals of Amber. Only Benedict, Corwin, Fiona, and Bleys have more years. Benedict is similar in his politics to what we see of Moiré. Corwin is often absent from Amber and shows signs of becoming involved in distant matters (in the last of Zelazny's works). Corwin also seems quite taken by Moiré's presence; certainly he would not forget her help in his dark days. Fiona and Bleys would be an effective counter to the arcane knowledge of Rebma, if only they were not the least likely people for Random to trust.

Even without Martin added to the active Rebman supporters, Llewella and Moiré have between them an excellent grasp of how strong Rebma is.

Random is not in a different position than Eric was in trying to maintain Moiré as an ally, and there is personal history between the two rulers to consider. As there is Vialle. Random might as well act for Rebma's interests through his Queen if nothing else; doing so can only help his authority.

Moiré makes a point of not adding to Eric's woes when Corwin arrives in Rebma looking for aid. She tells Corwin that she will not allow the strife of Amber to be reflected in her realm. Moiré, like Benedict, has no desire to upset the stability of Amber. Moiré shows compassion and a practical sense of the twined destiny of Amber and Rebma.

Moreover, does she have a knowledgeable hand in Vialle becoming Queen of Amber? Can we suggest she has some special knowledge of whom the Unicorn might choose for Amber's King?

How strange. How very interesting. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rebma has its own traditions, its own noble classes, and it has its own allies in the Sapphire League. These are the Shadows under the Sea that regularly do commerce with Rebma.

In truth, the history of Rebma encompasses many of the Shadows that it keeps alliance with. Among the Shadows reflecting the magnificence of Rebma are Bal-Sagoth, Lemuria, Arb-Mu, Atlantis, Tonga, Oceania, the Ethereal City, Yonaguni, R'lyeh and Tantalis.

Rebma is a place that values art and knowledge. The Theatre Musica holds performances of musicians, whales, and other sea-life. The Rotunda makes regular presentation of Rebman Opera. The esoteric knowledge of Arcane Makings reflects in the lighting and special environment of Rebma. It is a very magical place and its own people reflect this skill and disposition as Amber does not.

Rebma city districts

The arrangement of Rebma is in nine districts. Four of the districts (cabra-ward, amber-ward, south-ward, and gate) are gates into the city from the outlying areas. These gates include fortress outposts flanking them within one hundred yards. Large barracks of warders (Rebma's professional soldiers) are within each fortress. Most citizens participate in militia exercises several times a year. Rebma has always been a ready source of military strength and its history includes several encounters with enemies of Amber.

The Palace district is the highest ground in Rebma. The palace has a surrounding boulevard that is over twenty meters wide. There always seems to be some architectural reconstruction going on at the edges of the palace. The background image of this page is swimming above the palace district. The palace has additional buildings complimenting in several directions and in total is much larger than the castle in Amber. In the oldest parts of the Rebma palace, you may hope to avoid the Passage of Ghost-Mirrors which is responsible for over twenty disappearances in the last thousand years.

The four remaining districts are largely residential, but they also concentrate certain aspects of Rebman society.

In the Crafts district, you find the whispering statues of the Hall of Heroes. Here are the extraordinary smelters for metalcrafting, the smiths who construct mechanical wonders, and the amazing clothiers who craft fine cloth imports of seven worlds.

In the Arts district, the Galleries of Galantia hold the Trump landscapes that permit access to lands of many different cultures. The Rotunda of the Royal Opera has faerie lights that burn day or night. The huge entrances to the Theatre Musica allow passage by whales arriving to perform.

In the Noble district, the beautiful mansions glitter like undersea jewels. No guards or walls limit these estates, for the nature of the Rebma culture has no crime or jealousy in its heart-- another curious mirror-inverse of Amber.

In the Trade district, the busy guild halls work the commerce of the seabed farms and the Sapphire League trading economy. The tall fragile towers of this district have sighting lenses that can see through the dark waters some sixty miles.

Beyond the districts of Rebma there are the many vales and seabed farms that provide Rebma its raw diet of uncooked fish and steamed vegetables. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a closing thought, I share a small bit of the poetry of Maya. She has many poems on her site inspired by all the Amber characters.


Beneath the sea I walk the streets of Rebma,
Leaving no trace behind me as I pass:
Mirrors reflect infinity of mirrors,
Holding eternity behind their glass.

This place, a green-lit parallel of Amber,
Mirrors the mighty city high above:
The streets, the land, the throne, the very Pattern,
Matched to the earthly world as hand to glove.

The water shifts around me, never ceasing,
Eternally in motion, flux, and change:
A place that for a moment seemed familiar
Turns in the pallid light to something strange.

Constant reflection of the eternal city,
Mirror of golden Amber in the sea,
You parallel the passing world above you
From century to silent century.


'Mermaid's Kiss' pencils by Wendi-Strang Frost Special Notes:

Corwin remarks that the line of Oberon's children represents 15 centuries of his father's life. It would seem then that Llewella arrives in the middle of this lineage- between Bleys and Brand. Even if Llewella and Moiré have little "Shadow time" between them, Llewella should be nearly 800 Amber years old. It is also reasonable that Moiré has been queen for at least half that time. Likely more.

The Rebman Pattern has not been walked successfully by any Rebman but Llewella and Martin.

At King Random's request, the Rebman Pattern is now guarded day and night. Queen Moiré keeps the key to that deep chamber.





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