Ire, distrust, hate
Had consumed the Prodigal
But the noose pulls gently, so
None notice It killing us
Another Feast, I say again, I'll not return. But I always do. Like a battered wife widowed and looking to pay handsome men to beat her. But this time... I am glad I suffered through it.
"He's not down there. I'm sorry you haven't found him. If I die down there... please help her."
Stephen. I wonder if they will burn out his eyes and leave him to rot in the dungeons; the same punishment he had asked for his mother. I had wished for it. Fuck him. But, he has the face of a man changed. And... Stephen has never been known to apologize... and never with such conviction. Stephen is a blunt object, a bludgeon, but... could something have been awoken within him? Something vague that is missing, not just from him, but from us all. I am at a loss to describe this feeling crawling in my stomach: shame, regret, vindication, hatred, pity. All are false. Marching off to what very well may be his death, but a moment to speak his peace, and he chose to spend that moment to tell me... that. Thank you Stephen. I never thought I'd write that, but, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. With all my heart, and blood, thank you. If you go, I will take her and bring her to where she belongs: the throne of Amber. And no matter what happens to you, or between us, I will hold your moment dear until the day of my death.
--- Letters to Iain, pt. 2
Two centuries, three decades, one year, seven months, two weeks, and three days have passed in Amber, as of my writing this, since our last meeting. Eighty four thousand, five hundred and seventy two Amber days. I am only three centuries, three decades, seven years, nine days old. One hundred nineteen thousand, nine hundred and eighty one Amber days. Seventy point four nine three one one five zero six zero one eight zero seven one percent of my total lifespan has been spent pursuing you. Your absence is a fresh wound, still, and I can not help but itch the scab. It has bleed me dry, time and time again, but, so long as these lungs breathe and you remain in harm's way, they breathe to see you to safety. My blood is your blood, tainted as it is by our progenitor, and it pumps for you. I will never surrender you. I will let you slip from my gaze, from my heart, but, never from existence. You are all I have left. Foolishness, which I can only blame on myself, and lessons learned with pain, the worst of pains, which I, mercifully, can blame on another, have guided me here; to this point of helpless, mewling, vitriolic absolution. I love you, brother. Never give up hope.