I am not growing towards a better understanding of Faerie-kind.
If I had Caolan here before me, I would slit his throat, and probably
dress up in my armor and paint and lead an army into Dexter and slaughter
as many na si as I could find. It would make me feel a lot better.
After the altar stone conversation with Beauty, it was obvious
that she was pretending it had never happened. Her? Upset? By what?
Nope, nothing to worry about here, Mom. I'm a happy little
fourteen-year-old, never mind that I've been raped twice now, and am
bearing the Crown Prince of Amber's child.
Life never gets any easier.
The army grows every day. I'm well pleased by it. There is a
sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in *building* an army, slowly and
carefully, with all attention to detail, rather than throwing one together
from a hodge-podge of human militias in a matter of days. I don't know
how Foster likes it, playing second fiddle to an army, but then again, he
It's not like I sleep in the barracks or anything.
Anyways, we are an army that will be specializing in the defense
of Amber, but I'm making sure that diversity is also a consideration.
Ahab could want us to occupy any number of places, and I refuse to have an
army that can't handle heavy artillery or lasers. I know enough of
history, after all. How many times did the Anglos route the Gauls and any
number of good Celts as well by the superior technology of long-bows not
three hundred years ago?
Not surprisingly, I'm not telling anyone that we may be called
upon to enact genocide. It's easy enough to prejudice them -- *we* are
the good, the righteous, the elite. That kind of attitude lends itself
well to what Ahab may ask of us.
I got fed up with being fat, and not being able to practice with
Nicholas. Plus, Dara being free... well, who wants to be a pregnant
captive? Not me. So, Foster, Beauty and I hied off to the Rath, and
spent some time with ourselves.
Beauty is taking to her sword with almost ferocious intensity.
I'd be proud, except that I don't know where this comes from. It's not
like swords ever suited her temperament before -- now, Source may be her
I wonder if she remembers how Source was forged -- that it is the
companion blade in the reforging of Sequence and the birth of Return? I'm
not going to remind her.
Three weeks into my confinement, I found Beauty weeping as though
her heart would break. She's pregnant. And she refuses to think about
Eventually, she's going to have to.
Iseult was much easier to deal with in utero than Harry. The
irony there is that since he arrived, he's led a charmed life, and
provided almost stress-free parenting. Iseult is another matter entirely.
Her will is obviously inherited from Fiona. I can't think of another
family member she so closely resembles in temperament. In appearance, I
think she's taking after her father. Which means I'll have to keep trying
if I want a child with the Sawall coloring.
I think I can wait.
I don't really understand what Ariana means when she says "girls
are easier" -- when I know she means raising them and not birthing them.
Granted, Haris is hardly old enough to cause problems, but really, he'll
have to go to some lengths to cause me grief with the personality he has.
While Iseult reminds me of Fiona as much as a baby can, Haris resembles
his father's branch of the family. All of which means that, again, I'll
have to keep trying to have another child that reminds me of me.
I can definitely wait. Why would I want a carbon copy of myself
running around, anyway?
Trying to approach Beauty about the child led to her storming off
through Shadow back to Foil. I didn't really want her to leave the Rath
by herself -- it seems like every time we go back to Foil now, she's been
kidnapped or raped or cursed in my absence.
When Iseult was about a month old, our little family returned to
Foil from Rath Tintagel. I found Beauty hacking the thorn brake to
pieces. We had words -- few of them good, and I gave up for a time on
discussing her child with her. I did request a tray of cookies and hot
chocolate from the kitchen and bore it up to Beauty's room and knocked.
She was washing her hair. I paused in the doorway and said, "I
think I finally have the proper answer to your question."
"Which question?" she wanted to know, divesting me of one of the
cups of hot chocolate.
"The question where you asked me what I would do in your position if
Nicholas were Driscoll. I've been thinking about it on and off quite a
bit. It was a good question."
She smiled at that. "Thanks."
I gave her the story of Calamus -- not the story Caitt probably
told her, but probably not so different in the end. "I loved him, but I
knew it wasn't right. I tried to forget him, but then there was Amber,
and in it, Driscoll. Driscoll..." I paused for a moment. "Driscoll I
loved immediately, hard and fast. But at the same time, I hated him, as
much as I ever hated any Faerie. It was *he* who cast the Shadow of
Calamus, and I loved him and hated him and was afraid of him, too. It was
that kind of fear that saves you from bad situations, I knew that, and I
kept the fear. The pain of not having him would be far less in the end
than replaying the scene with Calamus." I stopped when I realized I was
blinking back more than a few tears.
"But why were you so certain that Driscoll would be the same as
"Not the same, but close... He was Calamus' Shadow. He had killed
my Shadow. And Felix had told me he was a traitor during Patternfall.
Ariana has since then informed me that is not precisely true, but..." I
shrugged. "And haven't you ever met a person, who, when you look upon
them, wipes every rational thought out of your head? Either from fear, or
love, or whatever?"
Her eyes wouldn't meet mine when she answered that. "Yes. Was
Foster your security, then?"
I explained to her that whole long mess then, the business with
Foster and the lie, but how, eventually, I came to trust him again. Then
it was time for my big finish, when I tied the whole thing together for
"When you asked me what I would do in your position, you
substituted Driscoll for Nicholas. I'm saying that as far as rude
awakenings go, I've already experienced much the same with Foster instead
-- that Driscoll represents my first love, in your case Shard, and in many
ways, Foster can be equated with Nicholas instead."
She frowned. "But you ended up marrying Foster..."
She just had to draw that parallel just like that, in that
particular tone. She was supposed to draw it subconsciously, in that
sneaking, subtle manner.
Damn. I'm just not subtle.
Who would have guessed that?
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