Tomorrow I confront what I beleive to be one of my family, come to this shadow to taunt and destroy me. This is as it should be, for I am no trifle to be honored by less than the greatest effort.
There was a painting once, in the blue gallery in the the main house of the castle. It was of the Unicorn, not exactly an origional subject, but there was something about this one that always caught my eye. The composition was simple, she stood on the peak of Kolvier, the sun just before rising behind her, the entire scene luminous with that false light of the pre-dawn. It was destroyed when a pipe burst; yes even the One True Plumbing leaks, there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but I’ll let someone else track it down.
They repainted it, of course, and the duplicate was the mirror image of the origional. But it wasn’t the origional, something vital, something undefinable, was lost despite the considerable skills of the artist. It was copied, but could not be remade.
I will never truly care for this shadow, it is a mechanic, a vessel far to abstract to have any real meaning to me. But it is also a gallery, and it contains paintings I have come to cherish. Suzanne, so young, so determined, so convinced she can lead me to accept her world’s self indugent morality; yet so filled with life, and steel, and fire. Rashid, who fills volumes with what he does not say, who simply accepts and relishes. Tasha, who serves, but not blindly and fills with logic what she will not allow herself to feel.
Should I escape this world I could find it again a thousand times over, but never again would the light be quite right, the pose so perfect. A failed Suzanne, a false Rashid, they could only mock their origionals and I would have no recourse but to slay them for the affront.
So, brother or sister, cousin or uncle; you who have had the poor manners to step into this gallery and profane the art that resides here and has become special to me; you will not find the doors unguarded. Oberon’s malidictions may have left me but spirit where once stood stone, but my mind is that of a Prince of Amber and you will find me no easy prey.
And, if at the end of things, I stand unworthy there is one gift even the Eye of the Serpent cannot take from me. I would, by preference, save it for him to bound me here; but, at this moment at least, I would choose to preserve rather than destroy. Should I fall my curse will cast you from this place and bind it forever from Shadow.
While I care little for the gallery, it contains that which I will not suffer be destroyed in the petty games of my family. One way, or the other, the doors will be locked to you forever.
Rashid, Tasha, Suzanne, you will be protected.