No, I'm not altogether certain that I'm all here. I'm fooling a
lot of people. I'm even fooling myself, most of the time. But from time
to time, in unguarded moments, I suddenly fracture into a dozen different
Laughters, who stand around in a circle and watch what I do -- in awe that
we aren't imprisoned any longer, in anger that I have freedom and don't
know what to do with it, in fear that it's just a dream.
These times grow rarer as the days pass, but they are there.
I hope whoever has the other eye, gods curse him for his thievery,
realizes what Brand is, and that he's the only one who can stop him, and
does his duty.
Duty. Such a strange concept, at times. Frivolity, games, wild
hunts, parties, all seem like events of a distant past. Now, I can think
only of duty, of making reparation with the universe and my family, to
make Suhuy's sacrifice, whatever it was, worth it; to never disappoint my
father and mother again. When I left Mandor's office, I heard something
I do not think it was Heather's doing.
Heather knows me best, I think. Heather knows best that I am not
worth the sacrifice of the lives any of these great men. Nor of their
talents, nor of any of the things they could have sacrificed. I might be
worth a puppy -- a Shadow puppy -- in trade, but that's it.
"What would you do to save Haris' life?" Mandor asked, when I
looked so appalled when he told me what he'd give up for my safety.
"I don't see how."
It is, it's very different, Father. Haris is a child, an
innocent. He would never bring such a thing upon himself, as I did. I
deserved my prison. Further, he is *my* child, the child of my body, and
I raised him. You did not meet me until I was grown. How can you care
And finally, if there's one lesson I learned in being what can
only be termed as a terrorist for a time myself, it is that one should not
bargain with terrorists. The universe does not rest on one life. The
good of the many outweighs the good of the few; and the good of the many
is more wrapped up in what kind of ruler you are, Mandor of Sawall, than
if Amber needs a new army commander and ambassador to Faerie.
No matter. The damage is done, and I have done it. I can't
atone, because I don't know what I've done.
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