If I wasn't so humble, I would have to believe that the Unicorn
must truly love me, to have blessed me with a wife such as this.  However,
I am too aware of my meager place in the universe to believe the Unicorn
has acted on my behalf, so I must put it down to my own personal
attributes of great physical attractiveness, prodigious stamina, and sheer
chutzpah.  S for the Wisdom of Solomon, H for the Strength of Hercules,
etc., etc.  But I digress.  Did I mention that Kimdyl looks great with a
malfunctioning dress and a little dip?  Makes me chortle to think of it.

	Fiona seemed to like her present, and while Suhuy took it a little
more personally than I intended, he also seemed to regard it as a very
small score, rather than an affront.  The man is no one I would wish to
cross, but the sad truth is that he *did* accept an arranged marriage with
a well-known, bad-tempered Pattern guru, and the image at the heart of the
onyx is not unlike the one he's going to have to learn to live with.

	Besides, the black stop and the red-gold chain set off her hair
and skin beautifully, if I do say so myself.  And I do, in case you doubt
me.  Miranda was a harsh woman, but she taught me well.  There is a
certain joy in creative work, although I find homicide more rewarding in
the long term.

	I am finding Oberon dangerously easy to deal with.  It makes me
wonder how much of his bad reputation is due to the sheer nastiness of my
elders, who doubtless chafed under his restrictions more than I do, my
nature being somewhat less hazardous to innocent passers-by than that of
Eric or Corwin.

	He seemed to take my modification to the dance list with good
grace, and seemed pleased enough with the ball.  He also agreed to speak
to Mother privately, and let her know that she, at least, had (to quote
Harlan Ellison in what I hope is a different context) "loved and done no
wrong."  I think it only fair for him to do so.  If he intends to make me
his heir, he must admit that her specific case, though not the general,
was to the benefit of the realm.  If all her effort to raise me will go
unnoticed by the public, at least she will know, and perhaps be a little
less afraid.

	Bleys' level of fear will doubtless be increased somewhat by the
experience of meeting Viktoria, his intended.  The woman is ferocious on a
planetary scale.  At one point, I feared she would devour Felix and come
back for seconds.  Even after Bleys got over the shock of her disregard
for him, and they danced a proper set together, I feel honors may have
been about even.  Given the intimacy of the dance, one suspects Bleys'
heir may arrive a few days short of nine months.

	Corwin fell short of that mark, although not for lack of trying. 
It did seem to lift his mood somewhat, which was good.  He is having my
experience in reverse.  Having absented myself from the game for so long,
and become disgusted with the practitioners thereof, I am suddenly brought
back in and told that I am winning.  Corwin played, and won, and *then*
discovered that he, too, was disgusted.

	Sadly, he has no choice in the matter.  The game is played by
people, and the pieces are people.  Trying not to play doesn't absent you
from the game; it makes you a piece only.  It abdicates your free will.  I
can live with that as long as the game and I are on the same road; I
expect to die should we diverge.  Corwin is less willing to entertain
either possibility, and it wears on him.

	I fear that it may be time for a break with Lyss.  She has been a
source of joy to me on some occasions, and she has inherited much of what
I value in myself.  Yet she has too often taken courses that I cannot
approve of, and this casts doubt on the worth of any facade of a close
relationship which we might have.  I do not feel she needs a father
figure, and if she did, she would not need one who disapproves of her more
often than not.  We do better to each other at a greater distance.

	Or, to put a sharper point on it, I hope she is very happy with
Bart, and I hope they share their happiness somewhere else.

	And one last move in the game...  Kimdyl may well be pregnant,
having done the needed deed several times before we became aware that our
contraception had been turned off by remote control.  I almost hope she
is; I have enjoyed raising Nicholas (though I may be the only one), and
another child would not cause me distress.  I am hoping for a girl this
time.  Giving a child a middle name after a favored relative is not
uncommon, and I think perhaps Nimue Deirdre Barimen is not an unsuitable
name for a child.

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