the T'ai Kung said: "Generals have five critical 
	talents...  What we refer to as these five talents
	are courage, wisdom, benevolence, trustworthiness,
	and loyalty.  If he is courageous he cannot be 
	overwhelmed.  If he is wise he cannot be forced 
	into turmoil.  If he is benevolent he will love his 
	men.  If he is trustworthy he will not be deceitful. 
 	If he is loyal he will not be of two minds."
			--from "A Discussion of Generals"
			 T'ai Kung's Six Secret Teachings

	Joan of Arc, as she is called in the shadow where I gained my 
degrees in botany and bio-engineering, is known for her unfailing loyalty 
to her country and king, as well as her god, even though all three failed 
her in the end, and she was burned to death at the stake for her 
troubles.  It is undeniable from a historical perspective that she was an 
enormously important link in putting her king on his throne and keeping 
her country intact.  What is questioned is her sanity.  That is the only 
unsatisfying element in what is otherwise a very good story; that and her 
ultimate betrayal by her own countrymen.

	Well, I don't hear voices, though I do have a talking sword.  And 
I'm open to betrayal on a hundred fronts at the moment.  I only hope that 
when Finndo captures me, he doesn't burn me at the stake, and I hope that 
Random doesn't leave me to rot in Amber's dungeons forever.

	Of course, that's the pessimistic viewpoint.  I'm not really sure
what the optimistic one would be, I'm that far removed from it.  Let us
count my openings for betrayal.  Cameron is very likely going to sell us
out.  I do not find it a good omen that Robert Farkensworth was a shadow
of Cameron.  I have a plan for dealing with that, though.  I'm not sure I
should bother clearing it with Random, either, for fear he won't like it. 
Sandr is working his own devious plans, and that's a betrayal in and of
itself; whether he sides with Finndo or not, having to fight against him
too is not going to help a thing.  Ulysses won't get involved, it appears,
though he may be willing to give a trump gate or two, since I've given him
the run of Foil... and my daughter in the process.  Good grief.  I cannot
believe that child.  But she is technically grown up.  I left home when I
was 13, after all, and she's a year older than that.  Of course, I was
better able to take care of myself.  I think.  It's hard to say, exactly,
if she is incapable.  She doesn't make the same choices, that's for
certain.  But... Ulysses! 

	Then there's the front of my parents.  Fiona is most likely not 
going to side with me, especially after she finds out what I did today.  
Especially not after I attempt to negotiate a little something on behalf 
of Random with Chaos-- more specifically, my father's house.  God, that's 
weird.  It's beyond weird, in fact.  I have to wonder what kind of man my 
father could be, to attract Fiona.  Of course, I'm probably wrong in 
thinking of her as a cold fish.  She's a redhead, after all, and it's 
apparent by my presence that she's not half as cold as I.  As for my 
father, whatever he may be called, he may very well laugh in the face of 
whatever Random can offer, and call me "country mouse" in a much less 
amused fashion than Lyria did.  As I have noted before, I'm no one's ideal 

	Lyria is a prime source of betrayal, too.  She's in the midst of 
my camp, and who is to say that Finndo does not have allies among Chaos?  
Then there is the problem of Benedict.  I most decidedly can't lead an 
army against Benedict with any hope of success, and I'm sure Archimedes 
isn't going to do a whole lot better, considering...  it's *Benedict* 
after all.  If Benedict decides to stay out of it, that would be good, 
but if he comes in, and not on our side, we're toast.  Caine...  I think 
I can deal with him, if my other plan works out, or else I can't.  I've 
got a fifty-fifty chance there, but at least it's a chance.  But Corwin?  
Gerard?  Julian?  These things are supposed to be up to Random, of 
course, but what is he doing?  I don't think me and a shadow army with a 
possibly alliance from Chaos and a thin chance of inspiring Caine's help 
are going to be enough to put Random back in Amber.  

	A simple assassination would make things so much easier.  I just 
hope Joan of Arc is the wrong parallel to make.