Maron is dead, by Sky's hand. It was supposed to be a simple
rescue mission. Well, as simple as any mission can be where Dworkin is
involved. We make a distraction, Dworkin retrieves Laughter, and we
leave. With luck, we would not encounter Maron at all. I should have
followed Sky when she left. Why did Maron have to kidnap Laughter? Why
could he not have shown more sense? I wish I had never told him that
Odemma was a Shadow of Laughter. If only I had been able to talk to him.
Maybe I could have made him see how irrational he was being. But now he
is gone, and it falls to me to explain his death to Eve. I do not know
what to say. It has been less than a week since she lost her mother, and
now she is an orphan. I have lost my father and brother in that same
span. It hurts, more than I can describe. How much harder must it have
been for Maron, to lose his father, his mother, and his wife, then to
learn there was a woman identical to his wife in Amber? If only he had
talked to me. Or Shandril. Somebody. Maybe this could have been
avoided. Despite what the others think, he was a good man, at least
before Cymnea ruined everything. Damn her, anyway!
I will have to raise Eve myself. I see no other option. I am the
only living relative she has left, outside of Sandr, and I will not leave
her in his hands. But I wish there was someone else besides me. I care
about Eve a great deal, and I have always enjoyed visiting her, but I
could always leave and return to my own affairs. I have never had to care
for a child before on a regular basis. I have never wanted a child at
all. They are so inconvenient. And actually birthing one is not exactly
the most pleasant experience. Beauty's confinement served as a perfect
reminder of that. But it seems I have little choice.
It was a day full of death. Maron's. Finndo's. Random's. I
watched as Ulysses crushed Finndo's head like an egg shell and Cameron lit
his body on fire. I am disgusted with the lot of them. They show the
dead no respect at all. I hope they at least have the decency to bury him
properly. I will see to it that Maron is. It will be nothing on the
scale of the funeral they will give for Random, I am sure, but I will see
my brother laid to rest. I do not think Archimedes will begrudge me that.
Archimedes... When he told me that he would be king someday, and it would
be good to have him owe me a favor, I did not expect that day to be so
soon. But he does owe me. I was the one who persuaded Dworkin to assist
us. If not for me, Dworkin would still be happily spreading fertilizer
with Sandr, and Archimedes would still be trying to get Laughter away from
Finndo. Or he would be dead. Admittedly, having Archimedes as king is
far more advantageous for me than Random or Finndo. But Maron's death was
too high a price to pay to remove Finndo from the throne.
Damn you, Maron. Why did you have to be such a fool? I never
thought you loved Odemma more than Shandril. What happened to you? And
why were you so careless? I cannot believe Sky was able to kill you so
easily. A dagger to the throat? You are a shapeshifter! How could you
die that way? It does not make sense. None of this does. Why must I
lose the brother I want to live, while the brother I want to die lives on?
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