When the gloating was over, and the celebration that Alexandra so
promptly arranged, the disgust and the shame began.  To have allies and to
use them is no disgrace.  To have powers and use them, equally valid.  But
to rely entirely on the powers of one's allies is belittling.  Without
Alexandra's protections, Eric's sword, and Benedict's knives, I would be
dead.  I vow that if it takes such things and such abilities to survive
here, then I will acquire them for myself.  I will be dependent on no one,
even Eric, for my survival.

	Still, it is a cause for celebration that this assassin, at least,
is dead and burned.  Damn Ronan for pushing between me and my kill...was
his interference due to the resentment we both feel over the other night?
Why must Eric muzzle me and leash me to his hound?  Which of us was he
punishing?

	Ronan is apparently being punished already - with this marriage.
I could pity him, but I doubt it is necessary.  Strong-willed as he is,
marriage will be a thin shackle.  So, Eric tries to bend his son to his
own ends.  And so shall I.  I do not believe Ronan seeks to be king.  But
allied to a strong noble house, and eldest son of Eric - who *will* be
king, if he desires - he will be a formidable opponent for my Rénard.
Therefore, he must be converted to a formidable supporter.  He is too
entrenched to kill, and his support will be worth more than his death.  If
he seeks to avoid the throne, as it appears, why not place his brother
thereon?  I must build something between them, even if I lose some of my
own power over my son.  Of course, Ronan must not know that I want their
friendship.  He will act to spite me sooner than to please me.

	As for the remaining opposition - Leto is not so advanced in her
pregnancy as to be beyond the reach of my drugs.  And Eric has delivered
her into my hands, though he knows it not.

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