“Amber was the greatest city which had ever existed or would ever exist. Amber had always been and always would be, and every other city, everywhere, every other city that existed was but a reflection of a shadow of some phase of Amber. … Of Shadow I have this to say: there is Shadow and there is Substance, and this is the root of all things. Of Substance, there is only Amber, the real city, upon the real Earth, which contains everything. Of Shadow, there is an infinitude of things. Every possibility exists somewhere as a Shadow of the real.”
– Nine Princes in Amber, The Chronicles of Amber (Roger Zelazny)
There is a way to go “behind the scenes”, so to speak, to reach a disconnected meta-fragment. It does not function like a normal fragment; there is no definite setting, no passage of time, no fixed aspects beyond the unalterable definitions of its inhabitants – the characters, as they may be called. Instead, you might think of this place as a convergence of every other fragment, or perhaps their jumping off point, the original draft or line of code on which every new repetition is based. The nexus lies at the center of everything and from it every other fragment radiates outwards like the shards of a broken mirror, the reflection in each jagged piece altered slightly from its companions. The center is possibility and the fragments are its realization.
Only within this particular fragment does the fourth wall bleed and blur, allowing the scribe crossover in some revenant form, the observer made flesh outside itself. Only here does perception tear and fray, allowing the… muses, if you will, or characters, fictions, spirits… an awareness of their condition. In this place they, like the author, may stand at the center and gaze out over the myriad iterations of their own existence. Here a minor change, there a world so different their forms seem hardly recognizable; and yet still at that base level they and the story remain unchanged. Tragedy and betrayal reflected a thousand times in a thousand ways. It is a mercy, really, that they may only be privy to such knowledge in this one fragment. What must it be like to touch on your endless individual lives and know no matter how they differ, the end will always be of blood and sorrow?
[ P.S The Chronicles of Amber are fucking awesome, just FYI. ]