Good lord, why did he have to decide to take after me?  Why not
his Mom?  She has all the brains.  She has the culture.  All I have is too
little sense to know when I'm licked.  And Nick... he has the worst of
both worlds.  He has determination and energy, he has culture, and he
turns out to have the mind of a pirate.

	I don't know how I'm going to undo this.  I never expected him to
ignore his Mom and his tutors to the degree he has.  I wanted him to be
able to be vicious and amoral when the need came, but he never learned
when to judge the need.  And I worry that he's going to hit puberty and
rape Beauty, and them I'm going to have to take a sword to my only son.

	Everyone seems willing to wait for me to actually launch a new
mission.  What the hell is that?  Like there aren't any other people in
Amber with an ounce of initiative?  I know that Felix is pretty banged up
and is in no condition to boogie, but every day they sit is another day
for Dara to get hold of a shard.

	So what's my excuse?  I'm more deflated than Felix's lung is,
that's what.  My family is the one thing that has been keeping me out of
trouble these last few years.  I don't want to get killed and I don't want
to be out of circulation because I have a wife and a kid.  And now I find
that the kid has gone manic in the copious time when I wasn't looking, and
my wife is in a state of profound depression because she's no longer the
baddest thing since sliced bread.  And what they need is not for me to go
back out into Shadow and see if I can get myself fucked up again.

	I think that Kimdyl will be OK after a while.  She has always been
fairly good at coping, once a shock wears off.  But Nick...  I need to
think of something special.  He's learned too well for ordinary punishment
- he'll just figure he's been caught again and resolve to do better next
time.  I need to jar him out of thinking that he's the swellest there is. 
Something to force him to have a little bit of empathy.  But it's a hard
bill to fill.  I think a lot of his existing mania is really fear of being
inadequate.  Making him feel powerless is just going to push him farther
in the same direction.

	Maybe one of the other kids his age has some serious mental
strength.  Give him a look at how he looks to everyone else, firsthand. 
He has to see how *wrong* it is to be what he is at his age.

	He's just like me in that regard, too.  Too damn serious
throughout his entire childhood, never having that innocent sense kids get
that the entire world is just a giant place to play.  I broke the mold in
adolescence, and now my only problem is that I sometimes get crazy when I
shouldn't.  But there's no guarantee that will happen to him.

	If I had known that making him into a bad motherfucker would make
him into what he is now, I would have thought twice.  But that's the
family curse.  Corwin wasn't what Oberon needed him to be, and I wasn't
what Mom wanted me to be, and my kid isn't what I wanted him to be.

	I'm sorry, Mom.

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