I was so disgusted by yesterday, that I could not bring myself to
speak of it. Since the rest of my week promises monotony, however, I have
decided that I should record the reason for my efforts, lest my memory
burn out in the interim. I guess I should explain that first; that is,
the reason why I'm going to be casting spells all week. Lyss has decided
that, despite our spectacular failure on the last attempt and the child
which she now carries, we should go looking once more for her mother. I
suppose it is a natural desire, especially given her new position in life,
and it does not reflect poorly upon her, but I wish she hadn't thought of
it. No, I don't really, that would be spiteful, but I do not see the
wisdom in another search at this time. Forget it. I'm in; there was
never any doubt about that. The thing that has really annoyed me is my
"Father's" evasive truth. He speaks much of "the Game" and hints darkly
that Random should look to his realm. This from a man who seeks my
protection from the Hendrakes. Someone has shirked his research here. So
I'm supposed to just walk up to the King of Amber and tell him to do what
is, after all, his job, on the authority of a man who won't tell me why
Chaos is hunting him and won't let me reveal even this. I think not.
This isn't helping. Screw it. I need to hang spells, anyway.
When I reached the edge of the forest, I saw him walking toward a
dragon. He skirted it and went on. I followed parabolically...
So I have a third for our desperate mission. Hopefully we won't need
...should have known he wouldn't listen. I had hoped that his
misplaced paternalism for Lyss would have brought him to our cause, for he
of all people should know that she'll go ahead with it anyway. All we can
hope to do is strengthen her defense with our numbers. He didn't see it
that way, of course, choosing this time to bring up my pleas for planning
in the Sand affair. There is of course a difference between preparing a
trap for a dangerous villain and fetching someone's mother, but he decided
he'd rather be snide and gloat over his presumed superiority...
...explained to her my belief that time was not of the essence. After
all, assuming her to have been captured, either she is dead already -- on
which point I did not linger -- or she's being held for some reason. Now,
I believe it a safe assumption that only a faction of Hendrakes could be
behind an unwilling disappearance of Ariadne, since they are widely
reported to be the aggressive sort, and she is, after all, tied strongly
to their House. The actual House members would have no reason to keep
such a traitor and embarrassment alive -- again, a point over which I
glossed -- but Dara, who has as much stake in her and more, would
certainly have cause both to keep her isolated and alive. For this
reason, if we act in the belief of her continued existence, we must assume
that Dara keeps her, unknown to House Hendrake...
...She would be relatively easy to retrieve, if we only had
...She's going to go look for her on her own. Damn!...
...She's displeased, but for once I have to overlook that. I think
that she understands, and maybe she'll even forgive me someday. I have
never seen her so saddened, and I pray that I never shall. It tears
daggers into my heart to have produced this emotion in her...
...I of course agreed to speak to him readily under the circumstances,
and as I accepted her ring, I promised to go directly to House Jesby and
return in the same manner. I swore that I would return to her...
...He said her name was Constance, and that I should ask for her
directly. My family grows by leaps and bounds. I neglected to ask her
mother's name in my haste to abandon him. I did not, however, refuse his
Yesterday was... interesting. My travel was interrupted along a
wooded path when a small red animal charged across the dirt divide.
Scarce moments later it was followed by what I believe were several fierce
dogs. Hearing horses approaching as well, I took me to the side of the
path on the assumption that the horsemen would overlook my presence in
their riotous chase. In this I was correct. They tore through the trees
on the one side and into those on the other without so much as a glance in
my direction. They were a mixed party of both men and women in refined
clothing. Their behavior puzzled me, but I would have passed on anyway if
it had not struck me that I had encountered this strange procession as I
had felt that I was nearing my destination. This tipped the balance, and
I steered my own horse onto their reckless path. My horsemanship, being
but recently acquired, is not a source of pride, yet I found that,
paradoxically, my stability increased with the speed of my mount, and so I
was able to quickly close the gap between us and join in their chase,
although I was not taken with their merriment to the point of taking my
position upon the horse for granted, as some of the riders did at their
peril. I passed unnoticed until the chase's end, which I'd rather not
describe. My decision to not join in Laughter's ride through Shadow was,
however, vindicated. Once at rest, it was a matter of no lengthy time for
them to notice a stranger in their midst, although I might have remained
unacknowledged for a far longer period had my color been subtler. There
was no real hostility to my presence, and I quite enjoyed quizzing them on
my identity, but it was eventually discovered that I bore the ring of
Barnabas. I should mention at this point, having neglected to do so
earlier, that during our race I had attempted to shift Shadow in order to
bring me closer to Constance. This endeavor took me no further from my
companions. I had tentatively assumed, then, that I traveled with my half
sister. As to her identity, I had little doubt. She was the small,
laughing girl with the golden hair about whom circled four young gentlemen
who turned out to be from House Helgram. My identity discovered, I was
received warmly, much to the relief of my young sister's courtiers.
Constance is a dear, sweet girl, and it's a marvel that she has so many
accomplishments in a society so set against the advancement of her sex.
In just one afternoon and evening we have bonded as if we had been raised
together, and aside from necessities of decorum we have become
inseparable. She has already been a willing and invaluable aid in meshing
me into her culture. The timing of my arrival was such as to coincide
with a ball, and although I was nervous of delving so quickly into Jesby
society, her assistance made the transition as smooth as I believe is
possible, and I was thus spared much awkwardness. When the dancing
started, she took the first song to teach me the steps, and on the second
she informed me that it was the man's duty to ask the woman to dance, and
she gave me a brief translation of the cultural signals. It made me
nervous to take this role, but not wanting to remain removed from the
society, and unwilling to insult the women by choosing none, it was my
unfortunate duty to select some over others for my attention. The only
joy which I derived from this procedure was in asking the hand in dance of
those whom I observed to spend an unfair amount of time merely watching
the others having fun. Constance had somewhat embarrassedly informed me
of the sexual mores of her circle, a matter of which I make very certain
to be certain ever since my accidental trespasses in Amber, which can only
be explained, shamefully, as the result of my own great sense of
displacement. Here, one must be married to have sex, if one is female.
It doesn't have to be with the husband, and it apparently rarely is.
Husbands seem to be scarce; there are many widows in Chaos. I have my own
theory as to which sex rules here, but it seems to be a taboo subject.
Widows are greedy lovers; I believe I shall abstain for the remainder of
my visit. Today I begin my research and wait for Dara to take the
...I can look forward to this day. After watching the passage of one
day and the most of another without having begun to discover the means of
sating my curiosity, it happened that my own dear sister was ever the
solution. She has agreed to acquaint me with the magic theory of at least
...become fascinated with their emphasis on stealth and the collection
of knowledge. It is as though they devote all of their energies towards
discovering the secrets of others and sequestering their own. Still,
there is something to be learned from this approach...
I am greatly ashamed of myself. It has rather belatedly occurred to
me that this date marks the first anniversary of my betrothed's existence.
I must hurry back to Rebma and attempt to salvage whatever good will her
family might still feel toward me. I have no time for this; I have said
good-bye to my sister; I must away.
This is weird. I mean, really mind-bogglingly bizarre. Catch this:
it's been 348 days since I walked the Pattern, but only 326 days have
passed in Rebma. Cool, huh? Mom explained it to me. (Thankfully I
rushed to her for advice before slinking over to see Lilith.) Shadow time
does not necessarily correspond to Real time. It can run faster or slower
or just not at all. She also suggested that one could influence the
passage of time were one inclined toward such things. She made it sound
like a dig. I'll look into it later, for I now believe that there must be
a later for me in Shadow. Anyway, the great thing is that I've still got
22 days to prepare for Lilith's birthday! What do you get your intended
for her first birthday?
Day 328 RSTE, 350 BPTE
...Astonishingly enough, she agrees with my intent and supports me
verbally. Certain regulations must be followed, however: regular Trumps
home, rigorous time keeping, avoidance of danger, etc. I could learn to
live with this, especially that look she gave me that indicated she saw an
intelligent life form before her. I think it was me...
Day 332 RSTE, 354 BPTE
I stopped by Ariana's to get it over with. If I'm going to be killed
or something, I'd prefer to get it out of the way before I commence with
long range plans. Lyss got the word to me a day or so ago, but I hadn't
mentioned it since I wouldn't know what to say about it. Well, and I
really hate reading those stories where the hero writes something in his
diary, and everyone reading it can see that there aren't many pages left,
and you say, "No, you fool! Don't even think about that!," but of course
they do, and they say, "Well, I'm going to go do this thing," and that's
the last page. Very annoying. So anyway, I thought I'd try out my new
spell, and she commented on my dye job, so I guess it either just doesn't
work, or not here, or not on her. That kinda blows, as Martin would say.
Anyway, I throw myself onto the land mine and it doesn't explode, but it
invites me to dinner. Go figure. I guess she's giving me another chance.
Like I'm the one who behaved poorly. Well, just the once, but she hated
me before that. I sat there for the longest time, just feeding her back
her own words to see what she wanted, but apparently she just likes to
talk. And ask questions like they had pat answers. I've gotta get into
Day 334 RSTE, 356 BPTE
In a way, I'm just annoyed. Mostly, though, I'm indignant. If Kira
wants a lay, she can damn well say so. This is even worse behavior than
that of the Jesby widows. At least they let you know exactly what's going
on from the start. A flick of their silly fan, and you know precisely
where you'll end up. The rest is all public foreplay. But this! Under
the pretense of family relations! I'm leaving tomorrow. I'll not return
to Amber without a royal summons. I've got more family than I know what
to do with elsewhere, and at least they're polite.
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All text on this page is © 1995 by Sean Frost.
Last modified on January 13, 1999 by Kris Fazzari.