Sadly, acting wise doesn't actually make you wiser.  An entire day
spent posing leaves me no better than I started where the actualities of
things are concerned.

	Bleys and Brand are looking into Gerard's vanishing, but have not
yet made a report of what may have happened.  In the meantime I am making
arrangements to put a smaller shipyard under naval control so that we can
keep what happened to the crews a secret for a day or two.  A defeat like
this should not become public knowledge if a day's patience might serve to
avert a general panic.

	Eric and Deirdre are also on alert, but since we don't know what
they're on alert for, this is a minor comfort.

	Laughter's family is in the Castle until Dara is rounded up.  This
means Nicholas and Beauty will shortly have to decide how they're going to
handle her pregnancy.  I have let them know that they have my support for
whatever decision they make.  For myself, I hope they either keep the
child and raise it properly and with love, or abort it.  The middle ground
does justice to no one.

	Nicholas took the news with great discomfort.  I confess to being
disappointed by this.  I had thought that more recent efforts at being a
father were fairly successful.  If at age 38 Nicholas doesn't think he can
do as well, he has a hidden but severe problem with his self-esteem.  If
he's afraid of following in my footsteps, I wish I knew where I continued
to go wrong.

	He may have some small reason to worry about Beauty, though. 
Understandably enough in a girl her age, she is not ready for motherhood. 
She isn't even ready to think about it.  My son's burden will be heavier
than most, should they do the family thing.  If not, well, his life will
suck then, too.  We're obviously kin - not that I doubted my wife, of

	Still, I hope things work out.  I find that I want grandchildren. 
Aside from a desire to increase the population in Amber, I want to make
sure my line continues.  I am finally proud of who and what I am, and I
think most of my relatives respect me.  *That* is a legacy I would like to
pass down to Nicholas, Nimue, and whoever may follow along.  It would be a
shame to let Dara or bad karma spoil that.  But time will tell, as always.

	But the look on Laughter's face was worth the price of admission,
either way.

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