I’ve got a serious case of whiplash — mental, not physical, although after being Delwin’s Pattern-battery, I’m pretty tapped out physically too.
It all started after I returned from New Tokyo, where my assistants had compiled the paper copies of a few centuries of documents for the upload into my skull. I come back fired up and ready to trust-bust some Minor Houses and fix Amber’s economic ailments, and what do I come back to?
A shadows-spanning war.
Well, I didn’t come back to it. In fact, I think I had a hand in accelerating it, not that that matters much when your foe’s given you the ticket and you’re whistling as you sit in the line for them to call your number — what I’m saying is, we kicked off the party two days before the remnants of the Thule Armies were ready. We did this in typical Amber fashion: By abusing the laws of reality so hard that not even a Broken Pattern imprint could protect Thule’s sorcerers from being popped from a wave like so much prepubescent Shadow zit-juice.
Also, scary. I might have the personal fortitude to resist Delwin and Meridian’s combined efforts now, but what of me before I walked the Pattern? What of me before I came to Amber? The notion of this selective editing sickens me on a personal level. It sickens me more that I see it less vile than the alternatives — a gruesome war where millions die protecting a world order than benefits my family and I far more than it ever will them.
That’s why I forgive myself that miscalculation with the water planet. Besides, I never intimated that clutch-thinking was my forte. I mean, shit, I spent most my childhood meditating most the day. Even before I found the Singing Mountain, I had outlasted the sakura from first buds to the last leaf-fall — the minute that final crumbling green fell, I ate a meal so mighty it demanded atonement the rest of winter.
What I’m getting at is that I’m patient, and I feel I’m paying the price for that. Take, for example, the speed of my powers. If it came to blows, I might outlast Fiona — if I’m lucky — and precious few other relatives. Pretty much all I’ve been good for this fight is as a battery; a role I play a disturbing number of times, enough I might consider making batteries for others so I can do something interesting. Alternately, maybe I need a wand full of canned spells or something. Ugh.
And for all that I’m mostly just a sorcerous battery, it seems my powers are no longer as unique in the Family with a Logrus-user, two Vitae-users, and ANOTHER Pattern-Master that exceeds my skills (as if Fiona, as much as I like her, wasn’t enough!) hanging about.
I feel like I’ve lost my role at Court with all these new faces and bizarre capabilities.
Insecurity’s unbecoming of me. It’s best I uncover my own unique calling card — before people think they’ve got me pegged.