(Hagen = Hakon = ‘first (high) son’)
How old are you? Have you been rattling around since the early days, or are you a new addition to the family?
Hagen was born in 515 Amber, about 15 years after Erica. This makes him nearly 1500 (Amber) years old. He has experienced around 1100 years due to sojourns in slow-time Shadows.
What are you known for? Power? Subtlety? Duelling?
Hagen is relatively unknown in the court of Amber since he has spent so much time in Shadow. Some remember that Erica dislikes him a lot. There is a recurring fashion among the young bloods of House Venway to revere him (or his history through the 2nd to 4th Weirmonken Wars) as the ‘Damned Knight’, a model for chivalrous service to the crown.
How would an average shadow-dweller react to you?
Cautious respect. There is something about Hagen that is never ‘safe’.
What in your life do you regret?
In his long nightmare in the sarcophagus in the Shadow Karüm, Hagen relived his mistakes over and over – among other horrors. He has come to terms with his history and has attained a kind of peace. He feels that with time, all actions become either legendary or forgotten.
Among the worst things he has ever done is turning the entire population of a susceptible Shadow into vampires to throw as cannon-fodder against a weirmonken army. Possibly some of them survived and escaped out into nearby Shadows, spreading the Curse.
He is not kind to captured weirmonken.
When did you walk the Pattern? How did it affect you? Who took you to the Pattern room? Why?
Benedict took Hagen to the Pattern room. Not that they were ever friendly, but they had a lot in common in their service to Oberon. Hagen hoped the Pattern would erase his father’s death curse from him and was disappointed it did not. Out of this he embraced it, became the vampire, and was an utter gothic dick for many years.
What did you do with you new power?
Hagen mostly used the overt aspects of the Pattern’s power in service to Oberon: travelling Shadow, bolstering it against the incursions of the weirmonken, setting traps for them. Later he sought out the Shadow of His Desire, Europa, and lived as Irad the Drachon there.
Who is your (likely) Amber parent? Do you get along with them?
When Hagen’s father Osric felt so betrayed by his Venway blood that he cursed it, he caught his mother and his son along with the rest of his kin. Hagen has been through the 13 stages of grief about this: denial, anger, depression, embrace, revelation, horror, repentance, contempt, humour, research, regret, curiosity, acceptance.
He has not visited his parents’ tomb in a millenium.
What was your upbringing like? Was your Amber parent involved?
Hagen was raised in the palace and grew up to be a companion of Erica’s. He worshipped her as a boy and she was often a baby-sitter for him. He was trained in martial arts by Benedict and the Venway swordmasters, and other noble arts by palace staff.
He was in his 30s when his father was executed. The darkening of his demeanour, along with Erica’s losing ‘favourite child of Oberon’ status to Corwin, caused them to fall out, to the point of duelling each other more than once.
What about the rest of your family? Where do they come from? Are they still around?
Hagen’s mother Stheile was one of the few rescued by Osric from a Shadow of Arden, Oakheart, that was destroyed by the weirmonken in their first assault on Amber. Stheile died giving birth to Hagen. Oakheart is really only remembered by the Church of the Unicorn, as there was a sighting of the Unicorn once under its evergreen boughs.
Who in the royal family do you connect with? Who among them do you hate?
Oberon – healthy respect for his power, not a lot of respect for his senses of dynasty or responsibility. Serves him out of an oath of fealty and long habit.
Benedict – cautious admiration, but deep down Hagen distrusts him because he thinks Benedict will always choose service over integrity.
Erica – dislikes and distrusts her royal ambitions, but would like to put their legendary hatred behind him/them.
Corwin – would only piss on Corwin if he was on fire to be one up on him.
Llewella – a Pattern-walking fish woman. How quaint.
Deirdre – fought alongside her in the Weirmonken Wars. Respects her.
The Clarissans (Bleys, Fiona and Brand) – untrustworthy and ambitious. And powerfully sorcerous.
The Rilgans (Caine, Julia, Gerard) – trustworthy (at in their service to Amber – they’re still bitching backstabbing finks) and not particularly bright.
Florimel – just lovely, and either an airhead or a very clever political operator.
Random – would not piss on him if he was on fire.
Luce – likes a lot. [Will check with David about some shared history.]
Emil – doesn’t know very well, but distrusts his dad.
Is Amber home to you? If not, then where?
Amber is home, or at least the family home that Hagen comes back to every so often. He has noticed that even in eternal Amber, 1500 years has changed it: his original name Hakon has softened in contemporary Thari to Hagen.
Do you claim membership of any of Amber’s noble houses? Which one, and why?
Hagen does not claim membership of or precedence within House Venway, but openly acknowledges his heritage through his grandmother, and keeps on amicable terms with the Venways. Having lived through his own gothic vampire dickery phase he tries to be a role model for the younger Venways coming to terms with their Curse, showing them how to live with it with honour.
Duchess Cassilda Venway is relatively cool towards Hagen as she sees little benefit in being seen as close to him, given his reputed rivalry with Erica.
Are you associated with any of Amber’s military or mercantile groups? Which one/s?
Hagen has seen service with Amber’s military and diplomatic corps across a thousand years. He was once the Herald of Amber.
Have you fought in any of Amber’s big wars (assuming you were old enough to)? Why/why not?
Hagen fought in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Weirmonken Wars, and has hunted the beasts extensively in Shadow. He is almost always wounded in battle but is apparently hard to kill. He went missing altogether presumed dead in the 3rd war after a dishonourable weirmonken ambush on a diplomatic mission.
Historically Hagen fights in the vanguard or the main battle group. His exploits as a commando are less well known.
Do you care who sits on the throne? Why/why not?
Hagen cared who sits on the throne because his oath of fealty is to Oberon. Until Oberon is proven to be dead, anyone else is a usurper.
However, given his recent experience with his own dynasty, the Drachons of Yantary, Hagen believes Oberon’s lengthy reign and unwise multiple marriages and dalliances producing children, has weakened Amber and the House of Amber. Perhaps it is time for Amber to move on from Oberon.
In his time in his cell under Kolvir, Hagen has started to wonder if Oberon is currently doing what Hagen did as Irad the Drachon – stepping away to let his dynasty find its own destiny.
Hagen has also had a presentiment that whoever occupies the throne after Oberon will die before they reach their destiny.
Are you old enough to remember the fallout from Osric’s attempted coup? Were you involved? How did you escape with your life?
Hagen was in his 30s when Osric and Finndo attempted their coup. He was not part of their plan or force, and was held as a hostage under Erica’s supervision. He was permitted to watch Osric’s execution from a high window in the palace. When Osric’s curse hit him, he went briefly bestial and killed a few guards and palace staff, but regained control relatively quickly.
Along with House Venway Hagen threw himself upon Oberon’s mercy, which was granted on his swearing of a blood oath of fealty. It was of course a matter of sheer accident that he spent the next few hundred years representing Amber in some particularly perilous Shadows.
Hagen has been careful never to let himself feel the rage he thinks he should have felt at Oberon’s filicide. This tormented him in the nightmares in Karüm, and left him empty rather than resolved.
At his birth, Hagen was third in line for the throne after Benedict and Osric. Afterwards – nothing.
How involved were you in the recent troubles between Erica, Corwin and Bleys? If you weren’t involved, why did you stay out of it? If you were involved, whose side were you on?
Hagen came across Bley’s army preparations on his way back to Amber, having finally escaped Karüm due to weirmonken activity in that region of Shadow. On Bley’s news that Erica was preparing to crown herself, to usurp Oberon’s crown, Hagen joined Bleys’s army. This was later joined by Corwin, and Hagen’s command presence was completely eclipsed.
Hagen led Bleys’s vanguard into Amber up the Vale of Garnath, and was incapacitated in the main assault by a sorcerous storm. he was captured by House Karm cavalry and turned over to the palace. After a brief conversation with Erica, he was imprisoned in the deep cells under Kolvir.