I figured I should start writing down my thoughts, as members of the family seem to be coming down with acute cases of death.

My life has been turned upside down. I don't which fucking way is which. Up is down, black is white. you get the idea.

It seems fairly obvious a plot is afoot to kill us off. Too many deaths, too much strangeness. there's too much going on for it not to be something. A coup, perhaps...a play for the throne.

Where to start?

I suppose I should present facts and evidence before indulging in wild speculation and paranoia.

But I won't.

Here's how I see it.

Step 1: Weaken Amber's defenses.

Benedict: Amber's undisputed Master of Arms and General of the Army. Caine and Gerard: Admirals of Amber's Fleet. With the three of them dead, the defenses of Amber are greatly reduced. Antonia is no Benedict, nor is Iole on par with Gerard.

Step 2: Weaken the Amberite's hold on the throne.

The only heir to Amber's throne is dead. The queen is having occasional attacks similar to seizures.  Things do not bode well for the Royal Couple.

Step 3: Get your foot in the door.

Both the King's and the Queen's personal valets have died and been replaced. Vinta Bayle, long-time friend of at least one member of the family, is executed. Her house receives a new head as she is replaced with a new Baron Bayle who isn't even a Bayle by blood. A high-ranking Lady of Rebma perishes under mysterious circumstances.

Step 4: Bring a big fucking force into Amber.

The General is gone. The Admirals are gone. Agents have infiltrated the palace, securing positions of trust with the Royal Couple, as well as the Throne of Rebma. Agents have secured a staging point of sorts within City Proper. Pretty good set-up for an attack.

Did I mention the Pattern took me to the man behind it all?

Yeah, I suppose that's information you need. I went to Rebma and walked the water squiggle. I had it take me to the person behind all the strife Amber's been enduring.

Guess where I ended up.

No, really, guess.

Dalt's feet, that's where.

So there I was, all messed up and wet, kneeling in Kashfa's Grand Ballroom at Dalt's feet. Guess I know why Vinta was calling 'em lions, huh?

Anyhow, I managed to weasel my way out of danger. I mingled a bit. I listened to chatting. I wondered how Rinaldo and Coral fit into all this. Then I left. I came home. Hence the reason I'm writing this. Never know
where you're gonna have a tragic riding accident and land on a dagger seventeen times.

Still haven't figured everything out, and I'm probably wrong about all this. Here's what I'm still wrestling with:

Dad. Why is he dead? Could it be because of the race of people he's been working on creating?

I           don't          know.

The only thing I can figure is it has something to do with his connection to Malwain. He was responsible for bringing them in to the Golden Circle. Maybe they were pissed at him for that. I mean, how many times has Kashfa tried and failed to join the Golden Circle? Or maybe it's more than that. Maybe Malwain fits into the plan somewhere.

Coincidentally, I've just met a woman. After the wedding, I picked up my broken heart, dusted it off and moved on. The first time I saw her was as a vision in that Pattern walk. I got the sensation she was waiting for a good way.  Her name's Tabitha. She's smart, outspoken, energetic and beautiful. She's coming off a bad relationship. though. Her ex-husband Mark used to physically and emotionally abuse her. A bad scene, all in all. A scene that's gonna make it hard for me to get to know her better. The point is she's from Malwain. Well, she's from Amber, but she and Mark lived in Malwain.

And what the fuck does the Balfax Stables have to do with anything? They named their horses Serengeti and Avernus: one referring to Lions and the other to my father. This is getting really friggin' irritating.  What makes it worse is the fact that anyone could be an agent of theirs, or that someone may hear me discussing this with someone. I don't want to wake up dead, but I gotta do something.