I sat down, took the long view of my life, and decided I don't
like it very much.  It's time for a change.  A big one.  A change in
attitude, a change in how I talk, a change in how I act, a change all the
way around.  I've had some quality time to think about how god-awful I've
made things, and wondered if I was beyond hope or not.  And when I
realized my choices for the future was suicide or worse, I figured
something needed to be done.

	When I left Foil, after Finndo was killed, I decided that I wanted
nothing to do with Amber ever again.  They had left me to die in Foil,
after all.  I was angry, depressed, and I wanted to kill myself for being
such a useless failure.  But I didn't.  I went to Dworkin instead, where
he informed me that the universe was going to hell in a handbasket.  And
after having a good cry, I sat against Ygg in thought, trying to pull
myself together.

	I watched various Generation X'ers come, talk to Dworkin, and
leave, ignoring me completely.  Not like it mattered to me at the time.  I
waved over Melanie, and told her I needed to talk to her.  She came over,
sat down, and she told me that she wanted to walk the Pattern.  I figured
no time was as good as the present, and decided that the only Pattern
worth my sister walking was the real one.  She took my hand and I Lensed
us to the Primal Pattern.

	She walked it fine, thank god.  The only person that I've seen die
on the Pattern was Cymnea, and I wasn't interested in watching Melanie go
up in a puff of blue smoke.  But she made it to the center.  Granted, she
took her time, but she made it.  I sighed relief.

	While she was walking, the same Generation X'ers (Laughter,
Archimedes and Ulysses) showed up and waited.  They continued to ignore
me, as they did at Ygg.  When Melanie was done, she teleported to my side,
and we proceeded to watch Archimedes walk and attune himself to the Jewel.

	And when he was done, I brought us back to Ygg.

	I told Melanie that Maron was dead, and that this was bad.  She
said he wasn't, and that it was worse.  We sat there for a while, and I
pondered what this meant, and what to do next.  My conclusion was simple:
there was nothing to do next.

	She left me to my misery, and I joined Dworkin in sowing the
Pattern into the Badlands.

	Four days.  I was in hell for those four days.  And in that time I
had only Dworkin reciting the litany that is Trump into my ears for
solstice.  This time I had no distractions;  no G. F. Handel nor J. S.
Bach to distract me, and no Beethoven to call my name.  Just dirt, and the
religion of the cards.  I had plenty of time to think.

	Hallelujah, amen, this time I got it.

	When it was done, and I couldn't take any more, I took my leave of
Dworkin, promising, as a good boy, to be back.  I went into Shadow, and
practiced my new art, spending time on a loving rendition of my sister
with a piece of paper and a charcoal pencil.  Much to my surprise, it
animated, and she pulled me through.

	She told me that I didn't look so hot.  I told her that I knew
this was so.  I remember telling Melanie about being stranded in Foil when
the walls were bleeding, and being very angry that I had been left behind
to die.  That I was no longer a part of Amber, I wasn't an Amberite, I
didn't know what to do.  She suggested that I go talk to someone, namely
Archimedes.  We sat there and decided on what I was going to tell him.  It
was a dandy speech.  We had hashed out options, between my being just an
aloof observer, or just committing a little of my time to Amber.  We had
decided that I would contribute in my own little pathetic, depressive,
annoying, uncooperative way.  As speeches go, it wasn't bad at all.

	And I still thank god that I forgot every word of it.

	Like I said, what we decided I was going to say just went *poof.* 
I refused go to Archimedes alone, and I insisted on my sister's presence. 
As we were walking down the hall, I was getting progressively more and
more nervous.  When we finally got to him, in the great hall in Laughter's
Manor, I had taken up hiding behind Melanie, and staring at the floor.  I
knew that I was trembling, and for once, I could really apply the word
'fright' to how I felt.

	She stood there, arms crossed, and told Archimedes that I had
something to tell him.  Then Melanie reached behind, and steered me, so
that I was standing right before Archimedes, head down, eyes firmly fixed
to the floor, playing with the front of my shirt.  And that is how I
looked during the entire conversation.  I felt like I was about to tell my
father that I had spilled Coke all over his favorite grimoire.

	Archimedes was looking at me mightily confused.  He called my
name, and at that moment, I forgot everything Melanie and I had talked
about.  I thought I was just going to start to cry - I felt so helpless,
and I felt like he was going to do something awful to me.

	They were both looking at me strangely.  I could feel Melanie's
eyes bore into my back, waiting for me to make a bigger ass out of myself
then I could ever have deemed possible.  But that was thwarted, as I
summoned the last of my courage, and started to speak.  What came out of
my mouth was what I felt, not what we decided on.  I simply told
Archimedes what I know: that I'm an idiot, and I do dumb things.  I've
made many, many mistakes, and I'm sorry for each and every one of them. 
That I'm aware of people around him that are far more powerful than I:
Fiona, Bleys, even Ulysses with his invincibility, but I could offer what
little I *do* have: my Lens, my Trump, my Sorcery, my
Correspondence/Pattern crosses.  Above all, I'm so sorry, so very sorry.

	Archimedes cocked his head, and asked, "Is this what you want?"

	I nodded, and mumbled "Yes, sir." into the plush carpeting.

	He told me that he was willing to start out fresh, with a clean slate.

	I sighed.

	He asked me about my mood swings.  For the first time I looked up,
and tried to explain that they aren't always under my control.  Things
just... happen.  I don't know why.  I closed my eyes tightly, keeping back
whatever tears were fighting their way out.  He told me that he would not
be responsible if I freaked, and someone came looking for vengeance,
because of something I had done.  There was nothing I could do but nod

	He smiled, and held out his hand, to welcome me back into the
fold.  And all I could do was stare at it dumbly, and start to cry.

	Melanie's arms were of some comfort, but did not stop the tide of
emotion.  I just closed my eyes and tried to relax, taking in deep
breaths.  I heard them discussing my medication, and the possibility of it
working in Amber.  It sounded like the decision on that would be, yes, I
would get my medicine back.  But it would be in controlled doses, and only
certain drugs.  No more joy-tripping for me, not in Amber.  No suicide,

	Before we left, Archimedes made the observation that Ulysses and I
were not talking, and maybe something should be done about that.  Melanie
agreed, and I was steered out of the Audience Chamber.

	In the hallway, I leaned against the wall and calmed down. 
Melanie asked if I was okay, and I told her I was.  She looked at me, and
I must have been a mess.  Pale, drawn, eyes red and puffy, tracks of tears
down my cheeks.  But I told her that now was as good as it was going to
get.  She did point out that it COULD wait until later, but somehow, I
didn't think Ulysses would talk to me if I looked fine and happy.

	I was taken to the nursery, where Ulysses was with his new baby. 
Melanie told me that, for this one, I was on my own.  I nodded, and she
pushed me in.

	I came in, sat down across from him, and between the tears and the
sobs I attempted to apologize for all the things I've said and done.  He
listened, and then told me that this was rather different from the norm. 
I nodded.  I tried to tell him I was so sorry for everything I said, I
didn't mean it.  That I wanted him to talk to me again.  I didn't tell him
what I really wanted, but that is too much to ask anymore.

	I calmed down, and we talked about this and that.  He was a little
cold and distant, but I couldn't expect much more.  Eventually, I left, to
leave him with his new baby.

	Outside, Melanie waited for me.  She told me - as usual - that I
needed sleep.  Emotionally, physically drained; for once, I wholeheartedly
agreed.  She took me up to my room that Archimedes had assigned to me -
not a guest room, but an actual bedroom that is mine in Foil.  A place I
can come and stay, that is mine.
	And now I'm here, in my little room, thinking.  I've hurt so many
people, screwed up my life so badly, that I may never recover.  But I pray
that, maybe, if I'm good, people will start to accept me.  I don't want to
be alone.  Melanie is here, but I don't really HAVE a family.  And it's
all I really want.  Some people want power, some want money, I just want
people who love me.

	I'm just a dumb kid without a clue.  That's all.

	So, I'll help any way I can.  It's the least I can do to make up
for what I've *done*.

	I don't know.  I will try, the best I can.

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