"Nothing seems to kill me, no matter how hard I try
	 Nothing is closing my eyes...
	 I'd give in if it could be ours alone
	 I've given everything I could
	 To blow it to hell and gone
	 Burrow down in and
	 Blow up the outside world
	 Someone tried to tell me something
	 Don't let the world bring you down
	 Nothing will do me in before I do myself
	 So save it for your own and the ones you can help."

	- Soundgarden, "Blow Up the Outside World"

	If it weren't for my wife, I'd be dead by now.

	Always, I've been fueled by the fact that I'm not good enough. 
Not good enough for Deirdre, once, and then by my own standards.  Now I'm
not good enough to protect Amber, it would seem.  And I keep pushing on,
trying to become good enough before something swats me down.  So far, I've
been lucky.

	But the cold fact is that luck is bullshit.  That style of life
would kill me, eventually.  But my family makes me think that there is one
thing that I just might be good enough for.  It's one place I can lie back
and realize that, even if there is room for improvement, what I have here
is good.

	So, when the Unicorn offers me a free chance to sound off, it's
hard to know what to say.  OK, it turns out she didn't plan this.  OK, she
can tell me more than I knew about the rules she plays by and the name of
the game.  But she can't make me happy.  She can't make the world go away. 
She's just one more person who wants something.

	Of course, so am I.  Just one more King of Amber for the books.

	So, I'm not in a position to say, "fuck off."  And since Flora's
involved, damn right I'll cooperate.  We have now reached a point where I
have to act, and so here we go.  But let's not confuse this with some
pro-Unicorn jihad.  My people have the right to their lives.  Nobody ought
to be sacrificed blindly or thrown to the wolves, by me or anyone else. 
If Zane's people intend to change that arrangement, then we stop them, by
the most efficient means available.  But if my people are allowed to do as
they will, then it matters not to me whether we all worship a Unicorn, a
Serpent, or a big fucking emu.  Religion doesn't get the dishes done.

	Sadly, the Unicorn is kinda cute and female, and I'm never good at
laying down the law to females.  So I just didn't say much to her.  There
she is, and maybe better late than never.

	Now, speaking of females... nobody lays a hand on Flora.  My dad
would probably claim she was weak, not up to the family game, and
generally expendable.  But the family game is hurting people, and if Flora
doesn't have the stomach for it, then maybe she's that much better than I
am.  She's beautiful, and clever, and knows a great deal about human
nature.  She harms nobody.

	So, if this creep Zane thinks he's gonna off her just because she
married the wrong fella, it's time for some serious correction.  I hold
the Unicorn's horn in one hand, and my Pattern blade in the other, and I
tell you true: I will do what it takes to save her.  If she dies, it will
not be because I have spared one cell of my body from doing what was
needed to protect her.  And if I have to blow the universe asunder to do
it, so be it.

	Some year, I'll have done this enough times that people will stop
doing things that make me mad.  If I live that long.

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