These thoughts are being left behind to whomever wants to read them. Be they the ramblings of yet another mad redhead who was hell bent on dominating all just to prove their worth, yet another ordinary Prince of Amber just trying to do what is right for his family, or a nobody…I’ll let history be the judge. I just wouldn’t mind writing some of it.

The week was a time of revelation. I discovered who my mother might be, who my father has been, and how all of that means for naught if you wind up dead through your own blindness and arrogance.

Maybe stupidity, rather than arrogance. Naiveté?

I’ve also discovered that it is very likely that I am running out of second chances, excuses and apologies. Of course, that has never stopped my father, if he actually cared. But then again, he has had the time, the experience and the power to back that up.

I should start with my more than brush with death. It began with my mother. Taking me aside in the castle, she revealed to me that she had been performing some magics on my father as he lay healing. Of course, this was something I had noticed, but gave it no great deal of attention. Mother had always been casting her spells around father. Sometimes it was the only way he’d…

I digress. In this case I should have paid it attention, as it gave a clear reason to his most recent actions. My fathers mind had been co-opted by another. She was unsure as to whom, but was able to craft a song to which would aide me tracking it down.

An unknown song, but for a small harmony. One which distinctly reminded me of Sioned.

Mother had always taught me that but for the Pattern, magic is magic everyone, it is your interpretation which guides your use. Our songs are no different than the faces of a tarot, or the auras of Origin’s white mages. They all end at the same point, but these pointed at Sioned, or someone of her line.

Upon questioning Sioned, despite her tiredness and irritability (though, this time not caused by me), she was able to confirm for me that it was not her, and likely not from her mother’s side. Thanks to our Pattern walk, we had shared a memory that I should not have, but do. Her grandfather: Theodric, her grandfather, dying in a duel at the hands of someone from my own family’s history. This memory I have not shared with another, it is not my story to tell.

But, that may change as if this song is from a Child of Oberon, then Theodric is the place to start.

A quick discussion with Lara meant an introduction to Caine was not going to be possible. She had her own problems to deal with and did not request my services, though at the time I was glad she refused them as I could focus on this song.

My mother had said that Caine would be able to assist any endeavour I may have had in locating the source of this melody, and in ascertaining whether the court would find the explanation of my father’s behaviour acceptable. Proof is what he asked for. If it was provided, then Erica should see the right thing done.

If that is true, then perhaps my father was wrong and there could be some justice or fairness from the Courts of Amber.

Before I could find the proof, Caine (and Hagen before him) had told me about an incident in Bayle, how a shadow had disappeared from the lands of House Chantris, and that it had appeared in the lands of Bayle.

Luce, being present at my meeting with Caine (but not at the conversation about my father, I don’t believe he would understand nor care when Brand’s name and the possibility of exoneration are concerned) brought the revelation that this could be another act to unseat Erica’s allies. Caine being from Bayle and Luce from Chantris, the two of them could not afford to be seen investigating this issue.

So, I offered my services. If the Son of Brand could be seen helping the throne, that could only help with the issue of my father’s possible innocence.

So, naturally, I would throw that away.

While dealing with the issue in Bayle, the junior members of the court (Junior generation wise, certainly not in age) had one of those rare moments where we were all in the same place, at the same time, and able to share information.

Sharing. That’s certainly a keyword.

Perhaps I should start with Bayle? No, that can wait. Focus is important here. Another keyword.

While discussing the matter of missing shadows appearing on someone else’s doorstep, and the political ramifications of which I’m only now beginning to make myself aware of, Lara had made mention that she had spoken with my father.

Lara, the new Sheriff of Amber. Where I go off alone and get in trouble, she performs investigative miracles.

Back to the point. Apparently my father had revealed to Lara that indeed there was another mind within his own, fighting for control. She asked for a name which drove Brand mad and forced her to leave.

I trumped my father, on the chance that he would respond. Fortunately he did, and I provided a neutral spot for us to meet, two hours from now in my time. I needed to know the truth, and I would get it from him.

I did say before that I was running out of excuses. But here it is. Family is important to me, and I can see why the others may not understand that.

Hagen’s father, executed for his crimes, delivered to his family a curse that will follow them until the end of time.

Luce: his own son he tried to murder without chance to defend himself, his mother lost for centuries…I do not know of the rest of his family, though I have my suspicions, but nowhere is there any joy.

Lara has the hardened face of someone who has had to make their own way in life. Sioned, exiled from her home, might yet understand the pull of family, but she seems as sworn to duty as Hagen…perhaps through his own influence.

No, I didn’t think they would understand. I did try, mentioning it at the meeting, but the focus quickly returned to the mission at hand.

So, I made a decision. I had set the meeting for two hours. Changing it would possibly lose my father again. Lara provided me the trump she created to find him in the first place, so there was that as well. Hagen had given me my orders; meet with one of the local officials to find out what had been happening. The meeting was in a fast time Shadow, there should have been nothing to stop me from stepping out and back without being missed.

And so I did. I had the meeting, he gave me the trap, and I fell straight into it. A trump trap…I should have seen that coming, and in fact if any of the others were with me they likely would have.

It is my mistake, and I shall live with the scars.

My memories of the event are few…a side effect of the price I paid to escape. I remember some things. The thoughts in my father’s body gave me some clues: “Fiona, she and I would probably get along!” for one, and the other; telling me that he was going to finish the job, and that my sacrifice on the Pattern wouldn’t be stopped.

My final clue: there is someone in my father’s head, because even after everything, my own father would not use me as a sacrifice.

If he would, if after all these years all that is left is the cruel man who would sometimes come to life, the man who would drive my mother and I from our home, only to welcome us back with open arms and apologies…then there would not be much point to anything anymore.

I could have learned any school of magic, but my mother always led me towards High Compelling and the lyrics, melodies and harmonies of her own craft. My father accepted this, and encouraged it. Now I know why.

The shadow in which I was trapped had a type of sorcery which required a physical component. Somatic would not suffice, and my artefact had been drained of all my racked spells. Even my escape card needed another type of power, as I was not willing to risk the Pattern until I was ready to leave.

So I did what my mother warned me not to do. Cutting my wrists on their bindings, I began casting my spells through my own blood.

It took almost everything I had, and more which I would not discover until later. The bindings broke, and gathering my strength I began drawing the rune of my home in my own blood.

It worked, just, and I returned. Perhaps the universe was looking out for me, perhaps I was lucky. Perhaps I am running out of lives.

Hagen was furious, and I can understand why. He is devoted to his duty to the throne, and I had one simple task in helping him. I wish I could explain, I wish that he could understand. Maybe he might. Do I feel wrong for what I have done? Should I have waited?

I’ve always thought it ridiculous to ask questions with hindsight. Would I do that again, knowing what I know now? Of course not. But not knowing, having the chance to make a different decision. No, no I would not wait. If the Unicorn or the Pattern or both are secretly manipulating everything for a reason, then possibly this was supposed to happen.

But even for me that is a weak excuse. I made my decision, and I will live with the scars, especially the physical ones. As it turns out, there is a reason I shouldn’t use blood magic.

My mother is an Aisling.