The best laid plans... I considered every problem that might
occur and accounted for it. But I failed anyway. Not due to a flaw in
the plan, but in its execution. I thought Shandril could mask the nature
of the Trump gates and make them appear to be caused by Pattern. It would
seem she could not to this well enough to fool Sky. So, of course they
knew it was not really Sandr, since he lacks any skill in Trump at all.
Father warned me what happens when you rely on others to do your work for
you. No matter. There will be other opportunities. What matters is that
no one suspects my involvement in this. They are blaming Maron. After
all, he can do Trump gates. And I cannot. Or so they think.
Maron appears to have felt Odemma's loss more keenly than he let
on. From what I have heard, he seems to be viewing Laughter as some sort
of substitute. How foolish of him. Even if there were not several
Amberites, including her husband, to stand in his way, why should he
expect her to love him, just because a Shadow of her did? Father was
right in this matter. Love is a terrible weakness. It has cost Maron one
of his best and longest allies and turned her against him. And what does
he think this obsession will do to Eve? She has already lost her mother.
How can he even think of bringing a woman who looks just like her, but is
not her, into their home? I am relieved that Eve is with Shandril right
now, so she does not have to see her father like this. But if Shandril is
truly at war with Maron, I cannot imagine he will let her remain there.
All this, and the cabal of houses in Chaos managed to succeed in
stealing one of the Serpent's eyes after all. Our presence probably
helped in the end, decimating as many demons as we did. According to
Mother, the houses are all but finished drawing their Patterns, Atherton
being the last, of course. She still has not reconciled with them, but
she will walk it anyway. It would be difficult for them to stop her. I
told her of Sylvie's plans to destroy Atherton's Pattern, and she looked
most displeased. She should be. I do not understand my sister at all,
sometimes. The whole matter may soon be irrelevant, however. Once
Atherton is done, the houses will war over the eye, and I suspect that
more than one Pattern will not survive. Unlike Amber, where the family is
small, there is plenty of blood to be found among the Chaos houses. I
must admit, I am surprised that the alliance held together long enough for
all of the houses to use the eye. I would have expected one of the first
ones to use it to keep it, giving them the advantage of a Pattern and the
eye, while the rest would have neither. Then again, even that would
probably not be enough to stop the other houses when they united against
the betrayer. It will be interesting to see what alliances form in the
fight for the eye.
There is one advantage to all of this. Chaos will be much emptier
minus six of its houses. Which will be to our advantage if we return
there seeking Bleys and Fiona, as Ulysses wishes us to do. I have not yet
decided my course of action in this matter. If they are in the Abyss, I
can assist in their rescue, but at the cost of revealing that I can
navigate there. On the other hand, Bleys and Fiona are bound to be
somewhat grateful, and a favor from them could come in handy...
But first I must learn what Sandr so urgently wished to tell me
last night. He is in a very bad way, and it was delightful to watch. The
spell Shandril and I concocted has been activated, and he had a bad time
of it with Finndo. The bracelet that Cameron did so much damage
attempting to remove is blocking his access to the Pattern, and this
distresses him greatly. I think he is ready to snap. If only my plan had
worked... What was he doing under Kolvir, anyway? I thought he was
trying to avoid the game, not go to the very heart of it. Perhaps that is
what he wished to tell me. We shall see.
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