Character Spotlight -- Amber Maza

by Christine Morgan

With Artwork by Eva

Name: Amber Maza
Birthdate: April 15, 2000, which makes her a headstrong Aries.
Aliases: Eolande of Midtown (her RP character from a Xantasia game, used as an alternate identity when she went back in time).

    Amber is the only child of Goliath and Elisa, conceived during the clan’s breeding season with the help of a magical amber pendant from Avalon (a wedding gift from Elektra). Gestation was fairly close to the human norm, and Amber was born rather than hatched in April of 2000. 
    Her growth rate fluctuated throughout her childhood. Over her first year, she grew rapidly to ‘catch up’ to the more toddler-like maturity found in new hatchlings. It then slowed, averaging out so that she was aging at roughly 3/4 human speed.

    Amber looks primarily human, with her mother’s dark-toffee complexion, black hair, and deep brown eyes. She has a lean and athletic build, and her adult height is 6’0”.
    Her only obvious gargoylian features are a pair of lavender-hued wings and slightly oversized, high-arched feet. Less-obvious features include a slight bump at the outer edge of each eyebrow, thick finger- and toenails, sharp but not elongated upper and lower fangs, and a vestigial bulge of a tail at the base of her spine (easily concealed by clothing). 


    In her youth, Amber is a child of conflicts. She was born ten years before the rest of the clan’s children hatched, so she never felt that they were her rookery siblings. But because she matured more slowly than the human children of her acquaintance (mainly Alexander Xanatos, Orpheus Bluestone, Patricia and Sebastian St. John), they saw her as being much younger and tended to exclude her.
    While the clan’s other crossbreed, Elektra (daughter of a Wyvern Clan gargoyle and Prince Malcolm), was raised as a gargoyle and only later in life discovered her human heritage, Amber was always aware of her duality of nature and was never sure where she fit in. She knows that her clan accepts her, but is wary of revealing her secret to other gargoyles.
    Young Amber is impulsive and hot-tempered, inquisitive to the point of being snoopy, easily frustrated, and stubbornly independent. She is also devoted to her clan and especially her parents. Her babyhood names for them, “Zaza” and “Daga,” carry on into her adult years.
    She viewed Hudson as a grandfather and the rest of the clan (even Xanatos and Fox, but not Owen) as aunts and uncles. Her relationship with Angela has always been somewhat tense, going back to Angela’s difficulty dealing with the way Goliath doted on Amber. Thus, Amber thinks of Angela as an aunt rather than a sister.
    Amber’s outlook underwent a drastic change following a trip back in time in which she met Old-Mother, her biological gargoyle grandmother. The elderly female’s influence and acceptance let Amber free herself of her childhood self-doubt and attain an inner serenity.
    Her love life has been one hurdle after another. One of her first big crushes was on the Hudson of a thousand years ago, when he was the young and studly second-in-command at Castle Wyvern. She was briefly involved with Orpheus Bluestone, but they broke up when Orph started worrying that he was using his powers of suggestion on her. She remains unsure whether she’d be happier with a human or gargoyle mate, but is in no hurry to settle down.

Education and Abilities:
    Amber attended Diane Maza’s private school until she was old enough to be admitted to the Sterling Academy. 
    Her desire to better understand herself and her place in things led her into courses of study that included sociology, anthropology, archaeology, and history. But her intellectual interests never fixed on any one thing.
    Despite subtle prodding from Elisa and Peter Maza, Amber has no inclinations toward the police force. She is a promising apprentice alchemist, a skill she picked up from Old-Mother, but has no other magical talent.
    Amber is physically stronger than a human her size, but not as strong as a full-blooded gargoyle. She is adept in a hodgepodge of martial arts styles and familiar with a wide range of weapons both medieval and high-tech. Her computer ability is indifferent at best.
    Like Elektra, Amber can ‘deny the day’ and stay flesh after sunup. Unlike Elektra, Amber can do this very easily unless she is injured or exhausted. She requires less sleep than a human; a metabolic shift that takes place in her body at dawn and dusk clears away the toxins and refreshes her. She heals minor injuries faster than normal.

“Lyre, Lyre” -- Amber’s first appearance, in which she was introduced as Orpheus’ ex-girlfriend but her full identity was not revealed.
“Breeding Season” -- the big moment: Amber was conceived, endangered in utero during the big New Year’s Eve chase scene, her life and her mother’s spared by Jericho in a twisted display of logic on his part, and finally born right at the stroke of midnight.
“Shameless Plug” -- minor appearance; proud papa Goliath brings the hungry little one to Elisa as the women of Wyvern are finishing their workout.
“Dark Beauty” -- minor appearance, hissing at Ebon because he sounds too much like her Daga; the source of a bitter outburst by Angela.
“Precocious” -- teething pain and a colossal temper tantrum leave Amber awake and on her own, so she decides to go exploring and runs afoul of Quarryman nutcase Harry the Hammer, Dominique Destine, and Tony Dracon.
“The Guardians: Alchemist” -- teenage Amber convinces Alexander Xanatos to let her go back in time and seek a cure for a disease that will otherwise claim Goliath’s life.
“The Boy With the Healing Hands” -- minor appearance, but she’s gotten better about being around Ebon.

“The Guardians: Out of Time” -- Amber escorts Old-Mother back to the past, but when she loses the Phoenix Gate, she has no way to get home.
“The Guardians: Rivalry” -- There’s a new student at the Sterling Academy, and both Amber and her track-star cousin Dee have their eyes on him.

For more pictures of Amber, visit the Gargoyles room of the Gallery.

Author’s Notes:
    One of the biggest challenges in working with Amber is having her not turn into a copy of Cat Sabledrake from my MageLore novels.
    They have many similarities: crossbreeds in a world where there aren’t many others of their kind, close relationships with a doting father, impulsive nature. But they are also different in many ways: Cat, for all she’s a professional thief, is much more innocent and naive than Amber will ever be; Amber has her mother present while Cat loses hers early on; Cat always simply accepts who and what she is while Amber is continually soul-searching.
    I wrote “Passions” in the summer of 1996 -- ouch, that sounds long ago! It was my second Gargoyles fanfic, and the trailblazer for Gargoyles erotica (if you hear a hissing noise, it’s the emergency valve on my big inflating ego). In “Passions,” Goliath and Elisa finally consummated their relationship. And I started getting letters right away wanting to know when they were going to have a baby.
    That was something I didn’t want to rush. I wanted to give them a chance to enjoy each other and their new relationship before taking it to the next step, and I had a lot of things to consider. Whether crossbreeding was possible. If so, what were the ramifications?
    I tested the waters a little when I introduced Elektra, tested them a little more with Moray MacLachlan (shapechanging son of Demona and MacBeth some years down the road), had several long talks with myself on the subject, and finally decided to give it a try. But not make it easy.
    (warning - soapbox time) It’s always been my belief that having a child is a huge responsibility, and it would make the world such a better place if people had to earn the privilege. It takes a lot of education to be allowed to take a job as a childcare worker; actually having the kid too often is the result of a lack of education.
    So I wanted to make Elisa and Goliath really have to earn it. She wasn’t just going to get preggers by accident; I had to have a very strict set of rules for the breeding season. And even then, there had to be magic involved.
    Plus, to be really evil, in “Future Imperfect,” I went and predicted that Elisa and the unborn baby would die at the hands of a rogue Avalon gargoyle, and then I brought Jericho into the mix ...
    There was never any question in my mind that Elisa and Goliath would have one child, a daughter. I’ve seen other authors give them a houseful, or most commonly a set of twins, but for me there was only the one. And her name was always Amber; like others (Jericho, Birdie, Tiffy Vandermere), the name just was.
    The real fun about Amber was that I got to play two ways at the same time. As the little girl, and also as the central character for the “Guardians” spin-off series. When you add in that she got to go back in time, that gave me three different eras to kick up my heels.
    I’m looking forward to more Amber stories. I’m not sure just what all her future will hold; I sometimes speculate that she and Brice Canmore (Jon’s son and Orph’s nemesis) will wind up dating for a while, both of them going by other names so neither knows who the other is until suddenly their secret identities blow up in their faces; I’d like to see young Amber go visiting at Aunt Agnes’ house.
    It’s all out there, floating around in the realm of possibilities. All depends on what I can snare with my little fishing net.