Style. What is called for here, is style. Or something like
Oberon had something that worked on the Faeries. It worked well
enough that there was mutual respect, anyway. They claim to like me, but
I don't feel like they respect me. Or if they do, Faerie respect isn't
good enough. Maybe fear would work better. No, it would be better. I
want them to fear me.
Right now, it's pretty clear to me that my position is a bit of a
sham. Some of the elders who know me personally are loyal to me, and some
(like Caine) will follow me for the good of Amber, but quite a few people
seem to have their own agendas. The Unicorn and Drumm both mentioned that
they like me, and that makes me nervous when it comes from people I don't
like or trust. They hold all the cards right now, and they've let me know
I can't afford to dwell on the retrieval of the Jewel. It's been
taken out of my hands, and that's that. But once we get it back, I need
to make some aggressive moves. I need something that will put me in a
better bargaining position with my own people, with Mandor, with Zane, and
with the fucking Faeries.
For starters, I need to learn some magic. It's become too
important for me to ignore it any farther. And since the Faeries
obviously have more powerful magic than we do, their magic is the place to
start. Hopefully Laughter will live through all this, so that I can take
lessons from her.
Past that... Zane doesn't get off lightly. Not if they killed
Flora's baby. If Zane was trying to send me a message, he's going to
learn not to use my private line without permission. Once he's been
taught, though, things get trickier. Gramble was a man I could deal with.
Mandor is not in his league. Mandor is a little too excited with his own
cleverness. If Zane is good enough, I could buy a lot of time by playing
them off against each other. If Zane isn't good enough, I get a good
chance to observe Mandor in action. I don't think Zane can win if we poke
the Serpent a good one, but I don't think I'll let Mandor lose. He's kin
by marriage, after all, and one has to look at family first.
In the longest term, though, power politics is kind of stale.
There's one avenue open that has yet to be explored. In the old legend
from Shadow, losing an eye can buy you wisdom. Dworkin's attempt to
implant the Eye in my daughter's head has never been adequately explained,
either. Doing that would solve that nasty theft problem we've been
having. It's something to think about.
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