Elaine 10: "The Picture World"

the picture world,
the lost and broken child's book, whence we treasure
one picture, torn and soiled, the faded colours
precious because dimmed, clear because faded,
the picture would, which is ourselves, speaking
of yesterday, and yesterday, and yesterday,
the huge world promised in the bud of May
the leaf, the stone, the rain, the could,
the face most loved, the hand most clung to--

must we go back to this and have this always:
remember what was lost or what was torn:
replace the missing with a better dream
rebuilt from the broken fabric of our wills--
thus to admit our present is our past,
and in one picture find unaltered heaven--

or, shall we be angelic, close brave wings,
fall through the fathomless, feel the cold void,
and sound the darkness of the newly known?--

--From "Time in the Rock" by Conrad Aiken

"I stole it from Brand when I tried to kill him...."
I slowly pulled Weirwindl from the scabbard, laying the elegant blade across my lap. Tracing a finger along the intricate filigree of the Pattern inscribed along its length, I wondered as to the thoughts and nature of its first wielder, the man who had tried to betray the very foundations of the universe. I wondered at the mind of this man, and why my mother would end up so linked with the path he had followed. Of course, she says she spent thos years erasing the harm he had done, but it seems that everyone has a hidden agenda, and I will assume the same of her.

"I gave it to your father on our wedding day...."
To me, though, it would always be my father's sword; worn at his side for all that I remember of my life. I remember him gripping the hilt as my mother lay dying, as if he wished there were some tangible demon he could slay to save her. I remember him sparring with Jero, and swaering his fealty to Uncle Alberdan upon it.

And I remember placing it in my father's arms one last time as he lay cold and dead in his grave.

Mirelle has, in a way, taken almost everything from me. The picture world of my life, gone, and replaced only with questions, prophesies, and a legacy of lies and misconceptions. And new friends, love, and a brother...

I returned the blade that was now mine to its scabbard with a firm purpose. It was up to me know to give it some other name than that of the Betrayer's, and make a legacy for myself. It was time to redraw the picture world...

Raphael peered around the door, looking somewhat relieved to see me. He ushered me in, and to a seat. "I thought perhpas," he started, "that I should inform you of my arrival, before you went and made plans for our other rendevous."

I settled myself into the chair. I had been quite startled wehn the page had appeared at my door bearing the news that my brother had arrived in Amber. I wanted to question him on the situation that had brought him here him, but could not bring myself to broach the subject. Lines of stress and exhaustion creased his features, and his eyes were weary. Instead, I said with mild amusement, "I am sorry that your desire to avoid Amber was not realized."

He shrugged slightly, a motion of resignation. "I feared that if I were to come here, my life would be forfeit," he sat across from me, "but it seems that I was in more danger where I was." The sardonic edge to his tone spoke volumes.

We had so much and so little in common. Both brought to Amber out of desperation, both manipulated, lied to and used by Mirelle, both bound by our obligations to something we saw as greater than ourselves: Raphael, the Church, and I the alliance I intended in my home. And yet, our lives seperated by a gulf of different experiences.

But I think that gulf will be bridged, in the long run. Rufus, Raphael's father, paid a visit. He is a gruff, but kind soul, who seems intent upon taking me under his wing. An effort I am not going to resist.