My love, I don't know what I am doing, and I am the one who is
older, so I should know. I should be doing a better job at taking care of
us, but I'm failing. Miserably. I don't know the things to say to my
father or to Vetch, and I don't know the things to do to keep you out of
trouble. Hell, if it comes to that, I don't know the things to keep
myself out of trouble.
The descent into Lazarus this morning, with you riding close
behind me, talking and laughing with me, even surrounded by a horde of na
si, that was heaven. And hell is every time I see you returning
half-alive with some new, deep wounding. The Pattern tried to do you in,
and then the dragons, and now Dara and the Logrus.
The thing is, I'm afraid that I'll be wounding you next. I don't
know when or how to be honest with you about this, especially since I
don't understand it. How do I tell you that I still have feelings for
Driscoll? It should be obvious, I suppose. Knowing any of our history,
it should be clear as day that Driscoll and I have unfinished business. I
would have given my life to rescue him today. Not the Jewel. The bloody
Jewel is not worth a single life, especially not any of ours. If being an
Amberite is only about Pattern, I may just call myself "Shadow" and
It's not that I love Driscoll, not as I love you, at least. I
don't know Driscoll. I only know Cal, and I guess I didn't know him very
well. Just like Driscoll didn't know Laura all too well, either, I guess.
Driscoll scares me like no other in the entire universe. Sure, lots of
people and things scare me, but I do not long to be in their presence, I
do not want to *know* them.
I had a dream once, after I had chosen you, but had not yet pushed
the situation forward. Before Ariana's wedding, but after the
shapeshifting lessons began. I dreamt that Driscoll and I were walking
alone, at night, towards Mother's cottage on the edge of Arden. I had
this dream in winter, but inside the dream it was summer, and the leaves
of the trees blocked the stars. I stopped beneath an oak tree as old as
Dworkin, and I dreamt that Driscoll took me into his arms and kissed me,
and then something slipped, and I had spelled us into the tree, and we
were locked there, together, tightly wound around one another like a DNA
helix for eternity. It was suffocation and perfection. Suffocation for
obvious reasons, but perfection because we could not shift position at
all, the wood was pressed so tightly around us. Because we could not move
at all, we could never move again to hurt each other.
Driscoll gave me such a look when he left the infirmary. Such a
desperate look, as though perhaps he had a similar dream once. I don't
know. I thought that in choosing you, Foster, I wouldn't have to worry
about hurting Driscoll or being hurt by him again. But our Shadows don't
know the pax between us, and they just keep playing it out. Laura, years
after her death, managed to betray him again, with their daughter and all
the venom she possesses. I should like to talk to her once, to know her
just a little, before Driscoll kills her. She is me more than Laura was;
how many times did I have a Faerie strapped to the wall and beaten for the
information he held? And then there is the Shadow of Driscoll that tried
to rape me. It is almost more than I can bear, sometimes. The rape
itself would have been infinitely more bearable if it were not all tied up
in Driscoll and Cal.
And while I love you Foster, every thought I have about Driscoll
is tied up in death, betrayal and blood, as well as love and desire.
Driscoll and the ending to my life he could give me are a thousand times
more horrifying to me than any device of my father's. I am afraid it can
only grow worse until the day we can no longer move to hurt one another.
I see no end to it, merely periods of respite.
That is why I look to you. Somehow, you have to be my salvation.
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