Kiron sat on the hill and thought. Jerzy was waiting below for the signal. The signal that would tell him when to lead the horde against the small keep on the other side of the bridge. Kiron sat in silence, still as the night. If the men guarding the keep knew there was a horde of demons waiting on the other side of the bridge, they would just cut the bridge. As Kiron waited, he thought back to the last time he sat quietly on a hilltop.
* * *
Subjectively, it was many years ago, although by most reckonings in the Courts it was just a few weeks ago. Kiron was young, too young to join in the battle. So he was sitting on top of Plowman's Knob, a nondescript hill which nevertheless had a perfect view of the battle unfolding below him. Kiron cheered as the forces of Anza and Strel advanced on the right, crushing the Amberite opposition before them. He gasped as he saw how deftly Benedict brought Xenofal's raiders around to just the right position to blunt the attack. He knew Benedict would be a difficult General to beat. But he was confident.
He was confident because he knew his father was down there, and his father never lost. His father was Lord Borel, a man known throughout Chaos for being the best of the best. A shining example, the best military mind Chaos had ever created. He could beat Benedict. And he would, too.
Unfortunately, first they had to let Sawall have his way. Lord Sawall was in charge of Hendrake and was thus in charge of the armies. His plan was to keep Borel in reserve. It was an obvious ploy to show Chaos that he was as good as Borel, to show that he didn't need Borel. But even Sawall was smart enough to know that Borel was the best. So his orders were that once the reserves were called in, Borel would take charge of the battle.
It was a good plan as far as Kiron could tell. Sawall's lack of skill should lull the Amberites into a false sense of security. Once Sawall blows his horn and father comes out of the East, Amber couldn't help but underestimate the threat. Why, once Borel arrives,...
"I thought I told you to stay at home with your mother, Ki."
"What!?!" Kiron spun around, jerking his sword halfway out of his scabbard, off-balance with the effort of it. "Oh, father." Kiron tried to stand up straight. "I, umm, mother was, uh,..."
"Haha, that's alright Ki. When I was your age I couldn't sit at home while a battle was going on either. I'm having some trouble with it now, as a matter of fact." Borel rarely showed his displeasure, but he was obviously annoyed with the way Sawall was handling this battle. "This is a fine vantage point Ki, did you find it yourself?"
"Yeah, I was walking with Uncle Settra a few weeks ago and we came upon this hill. It doesn't look like much from anywhere else, but once you're here, you can see everything. Even the passes behind the Amberites."
"Hmmm, this is a good spot. I'm proud of you Ki. You really can see behind the Amberites... Say, is that someone coming up behind them?"
"Yeah, I saw him earlier, but it's just one guy, what difference could he make?"
* * *
That was the last thing he ever said to his father. Borel had recognized that man as Prince Corwin. He knew Sawall wouldn't be calling for his aid until at least another few hours had passed, so he headed off to catch Corwin before he could join his brothers. And the rest is history.
Kiron watched his father's fight with Corwin from Plowman's Knob. He saw Corwin turn and flee, and fight with the honor of a dog. And he saw his father die.
He shouted his oath to the skies, his eyes clouded with tears. He swore that he would revenge himself on Corwin. It was a passionate oath, but Kiron was not one to lose himself completely to his passions. He knew he was no match for Corwin yet. He would have to train. Which is what he was doing right now.
* * *
Uncle Settra was the magician of the family. He knew all sorts of things that Borel never bothered to learn.
"Uncle, please! I need this! Just do it for me!"
"Kiron, you're upset. You're father's death was a tragedy for all of us, but you have to try to keep your head about you."
"Look, I just want you to find me some nice, fast Shadows filled with sneaky bastards who are really good fighters for me to go and wipe out. Is that so much to ask?"
"You're not just asking for that. You're asking for a whole life. A whole set of choices that will lead you down a path,..."
* * *
There was motion below. Kiron perched. He had watched this keep for the past week, and every night at about this time, a guard came on watch who liked to feed birds. Any moment now.
The guard arrived. Kiron waited until the relieved guard had been gone for at least five minutes. Then he set his plan into motion.
Bones shifted. Kiron's hands grasped at the ground and elongated into talons. His legstravelled up his sides and stretched outward while growing extra skin and feathers. His face stretched out into a beak.
Where Kiron once crouched, now there was a spotted kilver, a large bird that lived in the area. It was said to be great fortune to even see such a bird, they were so rare. Kiron leapt off his perch and soared across the chasm, landing on the edge of the bridge.
"Holy crap!" the guard exclaimed. He fumbled in his pouch for some stale bread.
"Here big fella...here boy...who'saprettyboythen? who? whosaprettyboy?"
Kiron ripped his head off with one slash from his beak and let the guard's head drop into the chasm, still screaming. That was the signal.
* * *
So this was Kiron. Kiron was brought up by the premier warrior of all Chaos. And he was taught that when you fight, you fight with honor. And then he saw his father, who had taught him all about honor, killed in front of his very eyes.
Since then Kiron has spent most of his time fighting dishonorable foes in Chaotic Shadows. He nurtured a hatred for Corwin during that time, but ironically that training period brought him closer to Corwin. Kiron realized that while honor has its place among allies, honor has no place on the battlefield. He learned that from watching his father die, and he learned it from fighting against one dishonorable foe after another.
By the time Kiron was called back to Chaos to run the family, Kiron understood why Corwin had done what he had done. And he understood that his father was an idealist,... a dead idealist. Although he did embark on a journey to find Corwin and settle the score, he already knew in his heart that he didn't blame Corwin for his father's death. He blamed his father.
Without honor to guide him, Kiron began looking at competence and ability as his goals and ideals. To that end, he realized that Amber was the pinnacle of those things. Benedict had never been defeated. Perhaps if Borel had survived to lead the reserves he would have been, but Corwin assured that that was a moot point. The forces of Amber defeated the forces of Hendrake while most of the Royal Family was occupied in fighting each other. Perhaps it was this "Pattern" of theirs. Or perhaps it was something else.
Kiron would just have to find out.