Conflict

Conflict is a topic some think that Mandrakes might avoid; after all, being known predominantly as healers, surely they might wish to avoid anything which will do harm to another being. While there are some few Mandrakes who may have this attitude, it is a rare perspective. Mandrake's fortunes and future are as inevitably wedded to conflict as to Amber itself.

Every aspect of a Mandrake's life in Amber from cradle to grave is in some way touched by the presence of martial life. Whether they are themselves warriors - in either the knightly order or in the mercenary ranks - or they are weaponsmiths, crafting tools of destruction and protection for the warriors; whether they are healers, working to patch up the bodies shattered by the trade of violence or they are priests, offering the Unicorn's peace and taking confessions, the usual life of a Mandrake will follow a path that is intimately familiar with conflict and its consequences.

Even should a grown Mandrake eschew the more violent trades, staying on the ranch to work with the livestock and agriculture, he or she is raised from birth to know the family's history, and the family's tales. There is the ritual 'slaying of the dragon' at wintertide, and the tales of the great Dragon Slayers of yore told round the fire; autumn dinners are an especial treat when finished with a snapdragon dessert of raisins soaked in brandy and set aflame, to be snatched by nimble fingers while trying not to be scorched. There are the historic figures, present in one capacity or another at most of the great battles throughout Amber's past. It is a history that the family takes pride in, and pacifism is a strange, alien idea which holds little interest or value.

It is not surprising, then, that while Mandrakes are not necessarily first to draw sword on every given occasion, they are not given to backing down or being easily cowed when provoked, especially if they believe themselves to be in the right. Pointless aggression is rare - but while Mandrakes make good friends, they also make terrible enemies if they believe themselves betrayed.

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