Now maybe we'll see some proper action.
I have my body back, and Alex returned the Jewel of Judgment to
us. We're still under siege, and the sea battle was a narrow thing, from
what I hear, but with any luck we can bring more power to bear now than in
For me... the name of my enemy is Arthur, and I will have him
dead. I could imagine the thoughts going through everyone else's head
when I said that. Just another boast of Ahab's, perhaps, or maybe they
were wondering what on earth possesses me to indulge a personal grudge in
a nation under siege.
Experience suggests that my nation will not give me overmuch aid
when the siege ends, though, and so I wish to do what I can, whenever the
chance arrives. I have a hunch Alex seized the Jewel with just that in
mind. The Ambassador is less sneaky than he thinks, but he has the right
idea: when you have a shot at the enemy's neck, grab and twist.
I feel bad, now, for my father. During Patternfall, I stopped him
from killing Eric. He should have learned from that and taught me the
lesson I've only recently learned: you don't get many chances to kill any
given target. Make the most of them.
It will be somewhat chancy, explaining to Moire afterward why I
put the sword to her son. Downright dangerous, in fact, since her control
in Rebma is in many ways more certain the than King's control in Amber.
But the killing must be done, and I must own up to it afterward, to cut
off whatever vendetta might emerge. Grudges spring from disagreement
about right and wrong, not from right or wrong alone.
In any case, it will be useful practice. I may someday have the
shot I need at Caine, or Bart, and I will take it, and again I will look
whoever tries to interfere in the eye and tell them that today I decide
who lives and who dies. Not likely to make me popular with the rest of
the family, but from where I sit, that is fair enough. From the viewpoint
of hundreds of years of merry strife, these little disagreements may not
seem worth killing anyone over afterward. Me, I'm young and impatient,
and it seems to me that the breed could be improved, and the frequency of
attacks on my home decreased.
A voice in the back of my head suggests that I should have more
care for my wife and child, before I go running off on a tri-Shadow
killing spree. A point, perhaps. But I recall the day that I stood at
the head of 20,000 inexperienced troops, as the only thing between the
Hellmaids and the Castle. A bad 20 minutes, any way you look at it. But,
more to the point, we came this close to losing the war, and having all we
did come to naught. We pulled through by the skin of our teeth, and for
our pain, the same thing is happening again. It needs to stop. If that
means I need to kill a lot of people, I'm up for it.
Anything else would leave me with a lingering feeling of treason
and moral compromise. "Yes, Son, you have to learn to play nice. Stop
threatening to rape prepubescent girls, and people will treat you better.
Well, actually, they'll take every advantage they can, but you're supposed
to pretend, so your Mom and I can sleep better between wars."
Perhaps my honesty is over-brutal, or a life of violence has
ruined my sense of proportion, but it's hard to find an intersection of
nice and true in this world. And that thought puts a different
perspective on raising a nice little boy.
No more Mr. Good and True Ahab. It's time for Truth, at the hands
of something long and sharp, and pointed at the enemy's throat.
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