The end is the same; the means make all the difference. I wanted
his child and would have borne it gladly had he told me of the Pattern's
effect. A true submission and token of my love. For I find, against my
will, that I am indeed capable of love, lacking only in moderation. But
in my truest, first submission, to be so betrayed and tricked into what
was my own desire...he will know my hate, now. The child he conceived in
spite against me will be my weapon against him.
Does love always start so? A fierce possession. What I felt for
the father turns now to the child. No one expects me to raise it. I
would not have done so before. It was to be my gift to him, and no
further thought of mine. But he has shown his true face to be no better
than the others of this clan. I will not trust a child to one who would
use it so. If his life was mine, how much more so is this new one?
Still, I'm afraid. To love is to have hostages to fortune and
ways for enemies to reach beyond your reason. The fox raises her young,
trains them with teeth and claws, then drives them out. Such sternness
suits me better than to always share my ranges. But I am human, too.
I wonder if Ariana can tell me what sex the child will be? Can I
speak to it now? Feel my hate, little one. Know his face, for you will
hate him too. All a mother's power wills it so. You will never have joy
of your children, Eric. Ronan grew up far away, and you never knew him in
his youth. Your wife will bear you another, but I trust to her to taint
that joy as I shall. Two babies born to women who hate you. That was
*your* choice; I would have given you more had you dealt fair with me.
Whatever she may do to hurt you, I shall keep my child by me. You may
watch it grow but never know its love.
Seeking to control my fate, I have over-reached myself. I have
tugged on myriad strings and set in motion wheels which may crush me.
This is what comes of being an amateur in a family of professional
I had nothing to fear - that was my reasoning. Fool! Striving
after power when staying alive should have been enough. And now, when you
cannot even protect yourself, how are you going to protect this child?
You are not the only one who sees a gamepiece in the making. Others are
quicker to seize advantage.
It is time to assess what I have done. First, I have proposed to
Benedict that I train the dungeon staff in interrogation methods. This
stands. No risks pertain here, unless it is that Benedict will learn more
of my talents. But I want him to learn, so that he will consider me
useful. Second, I have proposed to Benedict the installation of brothels
in the city. This is a little more dangerous. Should my familiarity with
information gathering have been so publicized? Hmmm. I still see little
harm in this, either. Again, to make myself useful rather than play
secret games for power. That should be my goal.
Learning to Shadow-walk...if the King or Benedict learn of my
actions, will it be held against me? Possibly. It was a risk. Couple
that with asking Benedict for Trumps and it looks rather black. It is
hardly in their best interests that I learn more of these things. But I
think I can argue otherwise if it is brought up. Why did I do it now? Ah
well, it was a necessary thing for my own soul to feel less trapped. And,
too, I think it is in these things that power lies.
The truth. Leave it, Vixen. Be a good dog for a while and don't
rouse your masters to watchfulness.
Is this all I have overstepped? Well, no. Conversing with Alex
about undoing the spell was a danger...the King would not take it kindly.
And betraying Vetch's theft of the Trump to Benedict...perhaps uncautious.
More might have been achieved had I hinted to Vetch of the matter. I must
walk more lightly and consider longer before I act.
As this pregnancy reminds me. It casts all my plans into
disarray. And yet, I sought it. I cannot blame Eric entirely, although
he forced my hand. What did I plan for this child? What did I plan for
myself? In pregnancy, I sought safety, and in the baby, a bargaining
piece. But Eric's betrayal changes things. I will not yield the child,
and so I must defend it and myself. Seeking power and safety, I have
brought upon myself a great weakness.
Out of dark shadows, thunder.
The promise of rain
or the sound of marching feet?
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