It would be a lie to say i ever in my most cold nightmares thought you would sit the throne.
Of the lot of us you were the one under foot, the fool, the joker in the deck. I remember you then with anger.
Yet you were also the joker at the fireside, at the card table, at the sea's crashing waves. I remember you then with laughter.
I have had time to think about you since the Battle of Patternfall. I watched you gain your footing in the Courts of Chaos.
I found that i could not decide if i could serve you. I was decided to abandon Amber and go out into shadow for a few thousand years. Not in rancor, nor failed ambition. I have commanded the Rangers of Arden for a long time and if there is to be peace for a time it seemed like now would be the time to take to shadow again as those of our kind do.
Why didn't I you might ask?
I returned to Amber while the rest of the family went into the Courts of Chaos, after the reception dinner in Theldane where the courtiers of Chaos were horrified to fete a conqueror.
I gathered my meager possessions in my rooms in the castle and was about to get Morgenstern and leave.
But it was Vialle who found me. She was terrified, scared, no one had told her the full tale, beyond that we had won. She begged me to tell her. So i did.
Sitting in a stable, in my long-riding clothes, her in tattered finery, trousers and blouse, of a kind she could wear if she needed to flee in a hurry. When she felt me readying to leave she thought the worse despite our victory.
So sharing with her manticore jerky and a hearty wine i keep for quaffing on the road, I told her the whole tale. You, Caine, Flora, Benedict, Corwin, Brand, Dierdre, Martin, Merlin. Dworkin. Oberon and the Unicorn.
I saw in her blind eyes the moment she realized that she was not a vagrant's wife, forced to a loveless marriage as a punishment for your careless crime against Rebma. I saw her become Queen of Amber. I saw in her stance, her voice, breath, and her hand on my arm, that she knew her love had survived, and that fortune had cruelly put a crown on his head. Much to my surprise, she had claimed my loyalty. I felt her love for you.
You. The joker in the Deck.
If she can love you, then I will try to as well.
So i stayed. Now i serve. I will bend knee.
For the Sake of Vialle and the Unicorn.
Prince Julian of Amber-Warden of Arden.
PS, If possible, send me on some long embassies and conferences. I may retain my office, but the wanderlust grows in me. Let me off the leash sometimes and i will serve you better. One day, there will be a personal matter that i will want to speak of with you. And on that day, I will be in earnest.