Our breakfast sprawls across the tables, an abundant offering
which wants only our acceptance.  It is ever thus in the Castle atop
Kolvir, in times of war and hardship, as well as peace and bounty.  I
believe that, should the Realm collapse, the Unicorn would still provide a
banquet for her House.  Rather, those who place their faith in her and in
us by proxy, those Amber-bound minions whom we so callously use and
ignore; they it is who shall always serve us, though they feed us with the
last stale crumbs of their own larders.  Do they know that the Pattern has
been nullified, that we are powerless to help ourselves, much less those
who have placed upon us their hopes?  Have they been informed that an army
approaches, against which we can offer little resistance but the frail
bodies of their sons?  Would they leave us if they knew, or would they
cling desperately to the old gods in the clamoring face of the new?

	It occurs to me suddenly to wonder if there is anyone else out
there.  Oh, the Golden Circle kingdoms, certainly, and Rebma of course;
all the peoples of Shadow, made beautiful by their frailty and the
mysteries of their existence; the ravening hordes that have split from the
strife in Chaos long enough to drown Amber in a wave of its own blood. 
There is no question that we have company in the changeable flux of
Shadow, but what of the static world which provides us with adulation and
a parasitic life of importance and luxury?  Are there other towns beyond
the forest and the sea, other kingdoms, any life at all?  So far as the
residents of this mammoth cliff are concerned, Shadow starts when the city
is left behind.  No one can wait to pass the boundary of the Pattern's
influence and get on with their escape into exciting new worlds of
potential.  Perhaps the people of our city know more than we.  Perhaps
they trade with these realms of which we know nothing.  Perhaps they
migrate between kingdoms.  There may be riches of culture known only to
the most common of our denizens.  Or perhaps there be monsters.

	There is certainly much that I do not know.  To begin, I know not
what day it is anymore.  I kept track meticulously, measuring time, both
personal and objective to the Realm, from that date on which I walked the
Pattern in Rebma.  It was on my birthday, my seventeenth I believe (has it
only been two years?), and I became giddy on the possibilities which
spread before me.  Through a simple theft of power, arranged by Aunt
Moire, the worlds were mine, and I could take my place amongst the
mysterious and powerful pantheon which ruled the surface and all of
Shadow.  What I lost was the closeness which I had always shared with my
mother.  I had always thought Llewella too confining, whether from an
excessive concern for her only child or an embarrassment to show her
relatives her bastard.  For some reason that is a cause of disgrace in the
arid lands.  I miss her touches, her caress, her hair which floated above
her in a shimmering green halo.

	So much is now lost to me.  We all feel the absence of the Pattern
in our lives, and I can only imagine darkly how it has afflicted the
others.  For my part, it is the shattering of a crystal life, formed of
the remnants of my prior existence.  I have sacrificed one home for
another, only to see it crumble beneath me.  It seems futile and a touch
repugnant to me now to measure my life from the moment at which I first
turned my back upon it, and so I do not know what day it is in any sense
which matters.

	I cannot retreat to my early home, once abandoned.  A curse,
acquired in Shadow, prevents my entry into the lands beneath the sea.  To
be more precise, it is the obvious nature of the affliction which has
resulted in my exile from Rebma.  It would ruin the reputation of my
betrothed if I returned to the depths as a woman, although for my own sake
it would matter little.  Poor Lilith, to be separated from her suitor by
the affection in which he holds her!

	The Pattern, it is said, may have the power to remove my onus,
would that it were present.  Instead, I have turned to my third home,
Chaos, as ever in process as Amber is done with.  My father has a name,
and though it is held in little enough esteem, it carries an amount of
authority.  He is Barnabas, until recently the Head of House Jesby, who
first fled to Amber before the war, only to return because of it.  He
again graced the Golden Circle months ago, on the run from House Hendrake. 
He explained to us why and earned an invitation to our basement
accommodations.  I pressed for his release and was utterly surprised when
he returned to his House and responsibilities.  Until that point I had
noted an echo in our actions.

	The Courts, however, offer me solace that I cannot find elsewhere. 
A Helgram, the brother of my sister's suitor, has taught me to reverse my
condition, so long as my exposure to the water is ended, and I find it
exhilarating to gain control of my form.  Although there are more nobles
in this other side of the worlds, I am closer to a purpose in my future as
the Jesby Heir.  It is true that we are seen as little more than a silly
and unnecessary ornamentation of the Court, but I have hopes that we may
gain respect.  Our greatest nemesis, House Hendrake, will either win and
destroy us all or lose and be lost themselves.  I have accepted my
heritage and pledged our support openly to the Sawall King.  We are
targets anyway, and our secret alliance was commonly known.  Nothing could
be lost by openness, but oh, the potential of benefit!

	The alliance, for now, suits my tastes very well.  I find myself
welcome in some place at last, and the bond between Gramble's Court and
that of Random allows me to support my new home by aiding the old.  This
frees my conscience, for though I have left loved ones behind, I might
still act on their behalf.  But what of the end?  If all that I care for
survive well, I have still committed my life to one pole of influence.  I
cannot act simultaneously in all of my homes, nor can I ignore any for
another without pangs of loss.  Sharing my time would cheat all three, for
none would hold my full attention.  No, the decision would not be that
complex.  If Rebma would have me back, I would give up everything,
although I realize that it would never be the same.  If still barred from
the ocean, I would throw myself into the affairs of Chaos.  Kolvir holds
nothing with which to keep me, Pattern or no.  It is a flat, colorless
world, devoid of the life and spontaneity of the others.

	Unless its splendor resides in those unknown, outlying regions
with which no royal seems familiar.

	I chose the man-of-war as my symbol from a confidence that my
opponents would underestimate me.  It seems now a more appropriate sign of
the myriad components that have made me what I am.  I hope fervently that
I might find harmony in my elements so that they strengthen rather than
destroy me.

	I wonder though, as I survey the grease and sugars which comprise
our breakfast, what can I really do to help?  I cannot fight well enough
to make a difference, and I have no taste for violence besides.  My spells
are of little use on this large a scale.  My forms are two and offer no
advantage.  Yet here I sit, before the food which is offered in the hopes
that we might act to protect the citizens of Amber, and I wonder where I
might go to indulge my own vain hopes.  I wish they didn't fry everything.

<- Back to the Diary list