I don't understand this apparent emphasis on quantity over
quality. I must breed - any stableboy will do as a sire - and *this* life
replaces the unborn child of their king and queen? Any child of mine, eh?
On the other hand, I'm a lot closer to understanding since this bumbling,
near-suicide mission...shortage of cannon fodder? If they're this
careless, no wonder they need a high replacement rate. I still can't
believe that a group of self-willed royals got together and launched
themselves into Shadow without official sanction of their plan. The King
knew, sure, but *what* did he know? But I must restrain myself. I am not
in any position to show anger.
Knowledge is power, and I must accumulate them both. The Pattern
was an overwhelming experience, but as for the ability Rinaldo said it
would confer...obviously someone will have to instruct me. It is equally
obvious that no one of intelligence is going to do so. However, that
still leaves some possibilities. A certain Viking springs to mind.
Sparring every morning with people like that will be a serious
workout. I have never been so well matched. I wonder if I could get Eric
into the practice room? I'd like to study his technique a little more
I had to say something to Benedict....but, brothels? Well, it got
his attention. Subtlety is a departure for me, but it's becoming clearer
and clearer that I am going to have to abandon frontal assault and work on
more persuasive skills. Let me sum up: the King commands me, the King
hates me. I'm going to die. I have to take myself off the front lines,
somehow. I have to find something that I can give Amber - some unique
talent. I can't imagine what. But Benedict is the place to start. If I
can make myself useful to him, maybe he will have some influence on the
King. Besides, if I *am* going to be here for the next 100 years, I'm
going to need an outlet for my talents and energies. What do these people
do all day? No wonder there's so much incest.
Speaking of incest, and things that I can give Amber, if they
really want this child, maybe pregnancy will take me out of the strike
force for a while. Long enough to make myself indispensable at home? Now
is definitely the time; after all, I'm already trapped in my human form.
To change that, I have to earn the King's trust. Why not show myself
ready to obey his most confining and intrusive orders?
Egotistical and manipulative. He can't say I didn't warn him.
There are many things that trouble me about Amber. Benedict
seemed quick enough to ponder the instigation of a civil spy network.
Civil unrest? How could there not be, when they are ruled by such a
family? I must understand this further, study the webs of economy and
intercourse that tie the castle to the city.
It's hard to find people who will talk to me around here. Eric is
willing enough to trade idle chatter, but as far as giving me
information...his sword would be more useful. Usires is the only other
family member who has seemed at all willing to talk and to inform. I
can't figure out why. We built up a certain camaraderie on the practice
floor, but could that be enough to overcome his knowledge of who and what
I am? Yet he invited me to spar again, and seemed positively welcoming.
Salacious overtones? Not that I detected. That's *Eric's* motivation. I
wonder if this Martin could be another information source. There was no
hostility from him last night. It's always worth a try.
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