Okay, life is still good. For a while there, mostly yesterday, I had
begun to suspect that it was not, but I didn't want to write about it in
case something fatal occurred, you know? I mean, I wouldn't want anyone
to find this and read that my final entry was really depressing. That
could give a bad impression. Death is an unpleasant enough prospect
without leaving rumors behind. I can't prove that reputation is vital to
a productive afterlife, but it's just not what I'd want. But since the
day has passed pleasantly enough, and Lyss is in bed, and, as I've
suggested, life is good, I figured that now would be a splendid time to
write this down, before I join her in state and forget the whole thing.
Let me start with today, since it's simple enough and really what I'd
prefer to preserve should I lose consciousness before completing this. I
tried to pursue the questions which Dara planted in my mind. Now, I
realize that this is exactly what she intended, since if she merely wished
to discomfit me she made it abundantly clear that she needn't have
relinquished any secrets in order to do so. But, you see, I believe that
by learning the truth I can negate her threat. I mean, I don't even care
who my real father is; Gant has always filled that role admirably, and I
never concerned myself with Mother's momentary lovers anyhow. Why should
I? So this is purely academic. Knowledge is the only thing of value,
second only to the love of friends. Well, and human welfare in general,
but that comes later. I mean, it came up sooner, and actually happened
yesterday, but I said that I'd discuss yesterday when I'm through with
today... As I was saying, the more I learn about these Jesbys and
the truth of Dara's claim, the more I know of myself, and the less she can
ever withhold from me. Actually, she's made a grave error, since now I
realize that she possesses information about me. This does not make her
important; it makes me so, for why should she bother to gather this
knowledge or dangle it if I did not rank highly in someone's estimation?
Enough. At any rate, enough for now. I will not engage in speculation on
this subject. The records failed me, and Lord Benedict proved of only
general use. The only source for this information should be Llewella
herself. Any other option is unfair to her, her discretion, and her
privacy. Besides, just as her lovers are none of my concern, neither
should my questions bother her. Tomorrow I will ask her. For now, I say
that the rest of the day passed in friendship, showing to Lyss the unique
attractions which Rebma has to offer. So, we come to yesterday after all.
Either I am not as tired as I believed or I know deep inside that this
must come out (I told myself I wouldn't say "surface."). So. Yesterday,
I convinced Lyss that I should go along on Ahab's "posse." I'm not sure
what he means by that, but lynch mob sounds about right. But I get a few
hours of sleep, eat a hearty breakfast and get to work. I've got a
brilliant notion that my old "Xeno's Target" spell could be used
defensively, so I cast one for Lyss then one for myself. Then I ate, and
cast an open-ended one. Boring, right? Would that the day had continued
thusly, for we could surely have used more copies of the thing. So I'm in
the middle of the fourth one (you say, "Ah, Bartholomew. Pardon, but did
you not say that you cast three?" Well, read on, MacDuff, read on.) when
Lyss' voice echoes through my brain. There goes the spell, so I've only
got the three. I wouldn't dwell on minutiae like this, but it's important
so you get what's coming. So, she takes us top side to Ahab's "posse,"
don't ask me how, and it quickly becomes apparent that his wonderful plan
has two parts. The first is, "Fiona and Lyss squeeze Sand out of her
Shadow." The second, "We hurt her a lot." This is not a plan; it is a
stated goal. A plan would go on to explain how this would be
accomplished, who stands where and such. My objection is shouted down.
Some guy shows up and wants to help, but Fiona won't let him. I guess he
might have had a plan, so he had to stay behind. So then, poof!, we're in
some Shadow. It's dry, so I'm really not the one to ask about the
esthetics of the place. Fiona and Lyss get working. Time passes, about
twenty minutes, and this woman, Ariana I guess, skewers this long-eared
guy who was standing next to her. I assume this wasn't in the plan, but
never having heard one I wouldn't know. If they could have waited a day,
I'd've had plenty of Xenos hung, so maybe I could have spared one on him.
That could have prevented a lot, and I wonder if using that third spell
then might not have prevented the need for it later. I refuse to blame
myself; I had only one spare, and I could not have known either that this
would happen or that it would happen specifically to him. On the
contrary, my presence spared further tragedy. Well, it allowed Lyss to
spare further tragedy. I just kind of gurgled and collapsed. (Note to
self -- modify Xeno to stop power words. Also, ask Gant if knowing the
word is of any help. She used one twice, to particularly annoying effect,
and its syllables are yet on my mind. The one that felled me is, of
course, impossible to forget.) Anyway, about then I decide to use the
first two Xenos, and the countdown begins. Twenty minutes later, I'm
feeling stupid for wasting the spells, since they're about at two thirds
power. If I'd had time, I would have given them more charge, but why put
off a good plan for want of a course of action? Fortunately, the dogs
came in around that time, and I felt better about myself. The spells
worked, and between our shields and Felix's poor battered armor, we
managed to protect Fiona. One hundred deceased canines later, some of
which had to be mysteriously plucked from my spells to dispatch, Sand
herself arrives. Two of us react, quickly. Fortunately, my instincts do
not have the misfortune of relying on my senses, and the third spell is
cast in time to stop Ariana's crossbow bolts. See, Sand is pregnant.
Then I notice she's unarmored. Don't recall if she had weapons, but it
was pretty much irrelevant by then, since Laughter put her in a tree.
Everyone's relieved it's over, and only two of us realize it's not.
Again, me and Ariana. I guess others joined in, but I wasn't looking.
See, she'd used that power word, and my spell went down. The third one.
Sand was vulnerable. So I throw myself in front of the tree. Then she
uses the other one. Next I know, Lyss is comforting me. Then I'm in
court, with Mother and Auntie Queen, and Ariana's there, and she's yelling
and glaring at me. I don't know where Sand is, and I frankly don't care
to. I did my best, and it was insufficient. There are several things I
could have done differently, done better, but I didn't, and there it is.
I did learn something though. I had always believed myself to be rash and
impetuous, and maybe I am: the whole time I was out in Shadow, I never
thought of myself; not once. If more of us had been so hasty, perhaps I
could think of Amber without becoming nauseous. I'm getting irritable.
I'm going to bed, now. Couch, rather.
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All text on this page is © 1994 by Sean Frost.
Last modified on January 12, 1999 by Kris Fazzari.