- "Pale green. Gears slowly turning, a house of steel that would grind Creation to dust. Death was looking at her through chips of jade. The Cursed shivered."
- ―Captain as the Beast
Amadeus of the Green Stretch is the most recent holder of the Name Black Knight. He is currently Nameless.
Amadeus grew up on a farm on the Green Stretch. His mother had been a legionary. She died when he was young, and he inherited her sword and left home to join the Legions of Terror, where his name was misspelled in the roster as "Amadous".
He deserted from the Legions in his first battle on Fields of Streges, upon witnessing the crushing defeat of Praes, the death of the current Black Knight and the humbling of Dread Emperor Nefarious. Driven by embarrassment for his nation and desire to change it for the better, he became a claimant to the Name of Squire. As Squire, he gathered a possibly unprecedented villainous band of 5 - the Calamities, - defeated the person who was then Heir, proved himself to the Praesi court at the time and took the Name of Black Knight. Early during his time as Squire he met Alaya of Satus, back then a waitress in her father's tavern. Also during this time the Heir killed his still-living family, his father and three siblings, by crucifixion.
As Black Knight, he first worked under Dread Emperor Nefarious and his Chancellor, taking on both domestic and foreign missions. During this time he met Scribe in the Free Cities, and she joined his band as the sixth, although too late to count as one of the Calamities. During this time he also resumed his friendship with Alaya of Satus, an imperial concubine at the time, and together they came up with a plan to reform the Empire.
Amadeus was the one to announce Alaya's claim to the Tower under the name of Dread Empress Malicia to the court after she poisoned Dread Emperor Nefarious. He then proceeded to fight and win a civil war, backing her claim. After their victory he implemented the Reforms, widely known in Praes as such, which shifted economic and military power from the Praesi nobility to institutions under Tower's direct control and uplifted greenskins, giving them access to social lifts through the bureaucracy and the Legions of Terror. A large part of the Reforms was also the restructuring of the Legions in question, essentially making them from scratch, in which Amadeus collaborated with his friends Grem One-Eye and Ranker. Also after the victory he became romantically involved with Hye Su, the Ranger, another of the Calamities and his teacher of swordplay.
As proof of concept for the reformed Legions and part of his plan for reworking Praes's economic base, Amadeus led them in a successful campaign of conquering Callow, known as the Conquest. Midway through the campaign Ranger left the band. Afterwards he was left essentially in charge of Callow, although his preferred policy was circumvented and frequently undermined by the Imperial Governorship system.
After 20 years of suppressing rebellious moods and frequent heroic uprisings in Callow, Amadeus took an apprentice in Catherine Foundling, making her his Squire and officially naming her his successor, in a plan to bind Callow to Praes more tightly by allowing its people more self-direction and independence while at the same time drawing them into Praesi villain narrative scheme. The scheme partially worked, as Catherine successfully won over Callow and largely bought into his vision of the unified future of the region, and partially backfired, leading to Callow obtaining formal independence. The reason for the backfire being Dread Empress Malicia's disagreement with his policy for Callow leading her to extreme actions incompatible with his vision for the future of Praes, leading him to essentially sever political ties with her and stop serving as an intermediary / balancing force between her and Catherine.
During the Crusade Amadeus led several Legions loyal to him in defending the Callowan border at Red Flower Vales against Procer's attack. After the Vales collapsed, leaving him and his army stranded in Procer, he proceeded to execute a raid into Proceran territory, strategically burning civilian resources in a way designed to engineer a famine that would undermine the war effort and at the same time further strain the relationships between Cordelia Hasenbach, First Prince of Procer, and her opposition. The campaign ended with his defeat and capture by Tariq Isbili, the Grey Pilgrim, which he survived due to losing his Name before he could make his last stand against the heroes.
While prisoner, Amadeus had a conversation with the Wandering Bard about his claimant status to an unspecified Name (presumably Dread Emperor) and a conversation with the Grey Pilgrim about the nature of Good and Evil. Then he had his soul cut out by the Pilgrim's associate Laurence de Montfort, the Saint of Swords, and hidden with Roland de Beaumarais, the Rogue Sorcerer.
He rejoined the political scene after Catherine reclaimed both his body and soul during her Iserran campaign and had them reconnected again by a riual. He is now the leader of the faction of Legions in Exile and formal representative of the nation of Praes at the peace conference in Salia.
Amadeus is of a Praesi nationality called Duni, meaning he has 'European' features and pale skin, his in particular having been described as corpse-like. Notable appearance features include his short height, frequently commented upon both as ridiculous looking next to his taller companions and as frequently entirely unnoticeable due to his charisma. He is taller than Catherine Foundling during books 1 and 2, but shorter than her as of Book 3 by more than an inch. Another feature that is commonly commented upon is his eye color, described as "eerie pale green".
During his years as a Named he did not grow facial hair and kept a youthful look otherwise, looking the same as he did in his twenties. Since his loss of Name he looks closer to his real age (60+) and has started shaving manually, maintaining the same neat appearance. His black hair currently has grey in it.
He normally wears dark grey and black clothes underneath plain plate. A helmet 'looking like a grinning devil' has been mentioned in early books, but later on Catherine and Hakram discuss him not wearing 'fancy armor' in relation to Catherine's own new helmet, presenting a minor inconsistency. He owns and wears as formal clothing a black cloak, enchanted to look like feathers.
His personal banner is plain black without any heraldry.
Amadeus is a very reserved person prone to suppressing strong feelings, which people close to him (and Wandering Bard) have described as 'putting them in a box'. His peculiar way of thinking is frequently described as a 'machine of cold gears', which is also how he perceived his Name while he had it.
He appears to feel rather strongly on a variety of topics, including the future of Praes, the nature of morality, the unfairness of the Game of Gods, a spectrum of topics largely covered by the phrase 'social justice', and well-being of those close to him (his own notably doesn't make the list). When these priorities come into contradiction, the future of Praes tends to win out without contest.
While it has not been stated explicitly in the text, Amadeus can be read as deep into suicidal depression during the series' entire timeline. His friends interpret a lot of his behaviour as death-seeking, leading to conflict with both him and Catherine whom they perceive as being groomed to eventually kill him. Amadeus has at one point referred to himself as 'a tool that outlived its purpose', and insinuated that people he loves will be better off with him dead.
Amadeus is a big believer in personal responsibility and appears to be the closest thing to an atheist that a person can be in a setting where divine powers are blatantly real. He believes himself a rational thinker, having advantage over people he recognises as smarter than himself, in having fewer biases and blind spots.
In personal relationships Amadeus is a passionate and expressive person, remarkably easy to get along with and hard to offend or annoy. He has a tendency for the cryptic and the dramatic. He is fond of pranks and wheedling other people. He inspires great loyalty and love in his friends, and despite deliberate attempts to avoid fostering attachment takes up a father figure role towards his apprentice, who eventually begins to think of him as her father. He does not casually swear, and does not drink on campaign out of principle, even when having the Name ability to burn out alcohol at will. At the same time, as he despises nobility, and he is dismissive towards court manners as entirely optional if you have sufficient power to make everyone put up with you regardless.
Amadeus's primary goal appears to be ensuring a better future for Praes, towards which everything else is instrumental. More specifically, he wants to take power away from the nobility (and at least at one point wanted to exterminate 'all notable landholding lines in Praes' down to children older than six) and make the society more genuinely egalitarian with functioning social lifts. Also to eliminate hunger, minimise conflict with other nations as well as ban or minimise traditional Evil practices of diabolism, blood sacrifice and using sorcerous 'superweapons'.
He has also stated his wish to obtain a 'permanent victory' over Good, which he asserts to have an unfair advantage over Evil due to the biased nature of the Game of Gods.
Various people with insight into his goals have described him as 'thinking of Praes as the center of the world', 'desiring only to win', wanting a 'better world' or to fix the world, and wanting 'a camp for his pissing match with Heavens'.
Amadeus clearly priorities all of the above over the well-being of his friends, not to mention his own, yet caring about people close to him - both in a sense of personal relationships but occasionally also simply physical proximity - is also something he is not indifferent to.
Amadeus from a young age was a formidable foe. Although the son of a farmer after gaining the name of Squire he quickly became a force to be reckoned with. Relying on intelligence, practicality and support from his allies, rather than his Name for power, he was able to slay the heroic Commander.
By his own account, Amadeus' Name does not give him the overwhelming power it did his predecessors. Despite this weakness Amadeus has mastered control over his aspects and enhanced reflexes, valuing skill over raw power. This allows him to spar evenly with the Captain despite her obvious physical superiority. During his duel with Hanno he employed tendrils of shadows to use as extra arms in a fight to use swords, crossbows, or unseen sneak attacks in the cover of darkness. He also employs his name in commanding others to follow orders against their will. This can be used to insert trusted assassins in enemy camps or to make another Named stab themselves with their own knife, as was used on Akua.
Amadeus has departed fromm typical hero-slaying Black Knight, in that his aspects are focused on the control of large numbers of soldiers. His aspects are Lead, Conquer, and Destroy:
Lead: Allows Amadeus to impose his will on an army increasing both martial prowess as well as morale in much the same way that heroes augment armies that stand beside them.
Conquer: Increases both physical reflexes as well as power, but is more crucial to use in large open combat than a martial duel.
Destroy: Allows him to cancel the effects of his opponents' aspects, shatter vast magical workings, and lend force and effectiveness to acts of total war.
Amadeus's other notable abilities include his charisma and ability as a public speaker. At the same time he does not appear to be a particularly good actor, much better at hiding his emotions (described as an 'emotionless green eyed monster' when he dons this particular mask) than faking them. He also makes a very good lentil soup.