So, I'm not ready to be King yet?  Really!  Wow!  Maybe you can
predict my gender for your next trick, Tamaryn.  I've got no fucking sense
of perspective.  I've only spent fifty years in Amber, and for most of
that time I really didn't have access to the big story, or a chance to
make the big decisions.  So they whack Oberon, and they smack Corwin's
head, and now I'm King.  Where exactly did I get a sense of perspective?

	From where I'm sitting, we're losing.  Fi and Suhuy are the heroes
of the hour, and many offspring to them, but we still have Dara ghosts out
there, and some of my best people are missing, and now the Serpent has the
Jewel back.  I'm sitting here thinking that I'm pretty much fucked.

	Now, me, personally, I'd take these odds.  If that's the do, fine,
I'll go poke the Serpent's eye out.  But I ain't good enough to make a
damn bit of difference, and I have a kingdom to protect.  It is not my job
to lob the entire nation into a suicide mission.  If we're gonna lose, I'm
going to cut my nation a deal before I go AWOL.

	So who do I deal with?  The mischievous little terrorists from the
edge of Reality?  Or the nice urbane people who keep coming to our aid in
the wars?  Shit, Gramble might be a better king than me, anyway.  And I
could probably get the royal bloodlines merged to join the Kingdoms, which
puts the entire thing on a semi-legal footing.

	Does it suck?  Yes.  But most of my people live.  And I get the
bonus prize - no more fucking games.  Ever since I found out about Dworkin
and Mother's little game of kill-the-person, I've had small patience with
the Unicorn.  Maybe it did save Mom's ass by tampering with the odds, but
it didn't exactly do her many favors, and the Pattern started the whole
damn thing in the first place.  It uses us for pawns, and the Fairies use
us for decoys, and I don't owe either one a damn thing.  So if the Serpent
wins, and I can save some lives that way, I'm there.

	I'm normally not this crazy.  But this whole affair has a
dropped-in-my-lap, no sane odds, bad idea ring to it.  I'd say that
wanting to get it over with is a sort of sane reaction.  And this recalls
something I remember from my childhood, when Mom would get PMS-ey with me
- that feeling that I'm supposed to be following some script that I don't
know, but I'll get the snot beat out of me if I goof.

	Now, Mom was trying her best, and I don't hold a grudge.  My
daughter Lyss seems to think I do, but she's mistaken about that, and many
other things.  But if this is the Unicorn's best, its best won't do.  I
want another totem.  Maybe I can convince the universe as a whole that
free-lance don't-fuck-with-me ass-kicking is as valid a principle as Order
or Chaos.

	So, Tamaryn has me almost back on track here, and I'm scouting for
the main chance.  I've got people to hurt and I need allies.  I'll find
them where I can.  I told Lyss and Bart, a long time ago, that I wasn't
going to hold old grudges in my Kingly capacity.  I can hold to that. 
(Listening, daughter?) If the Fairies can work with us, that's good.  But
the whole thing with Chaos is an equally old grudge, and I'm willing to
ally with them if the Serpent gets too nasty.

	It isn't that Oberon died too soon, Tamaryn.  You don't know
nearly as much as you think, about him or about me.  The problem is that
Dworkin and Oberon did their do without leaving behind much on their
motivations and means.  I came late to this party, and I'm doing what I
know how to do.  I'll take your insults because I know how to do that,
too.  But do not fucking push me.

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