Fri May 10 11:08:07 1996
Subject: [AM] Le Diner - Et Apres
        On her way to the Dining Hall, Laura stopped a servant and asked 
if he new where Zachary might be.
        "He's in the Library, m'lady.  Been there all day, and word has 
it most of last night as well."    
        Laura frowned at that.  Something was up and she wanted to know 
what it was.  Deciding to forego dinner for the moment, she went 
straight to the Library.  Zachary was indeed there.  So was her cousin, 
Juliana.  Both looked troubled.  Laura noticed the sketch of Karina.  In 
response to her questions, Juliana explained that Karina had walked the 
Pattern the night before, then disappeared.  She'd contacted Zachary via 
trump, saying that she'd had the Pattern take her to her former home and 
was now ready to return.
        "Zachary was just bringing her through when the contact was 
lost, Cousin."
        "Lost contact?  Are the Trumps that unsure?"
        "No, the Trumps are not the problem.  Something happened to 
her.  The problem is, we don't know what.  With no proper Trump, I've 
tried to draw a sketch of Karina, but neither of us can achieve any 
contact with her."
        Laura considered the problem of the missing Karina and the 
interrupted trump contact.
        "Have you tried using the sketch together?  Combining your 
wills, as it were?"  She was remembering a passage in Corwin's 
chronicles about a similar attempt.
        Zachary arose with new energy.  "I agree, let's give it a try."
        It was then that Laura really looked at her cousin and noticed 
the exhaustion in his eyes.  Exhaustion, and something else?   Guilt?  
Responsibility?  Remorse?    
        "Zachary, wait.  When was the last time you ate a meal?"
        His expression changed to one of surprise as he realized that he 
hadn't eaten the previous night's family dinner and admitted it.
        "But there's no time to think of that now, Laura.  We must find 
        "May I suggest, Cousin, that your concentration may improve when 
you've refreshed yourself?  Juliana?"  Laura turned to the raven- haired 
woman for confirmation.
        "Our cousin is right," Juliana agreed.  "It is useless to expend 
our energy on this if you are not at full strength."
        "I haven't eaten since breakfast, either," Laura added.  "I'm 
        After a few more protestations, Zachary acquiesced.  Were it 
only a matter of his own comfort, he would not have postponed the 
attempt to find Karina.  But he couldn't deny that he was hungry, very 
hungry, and that it might interfere with his effectiveness.
        "Will you join us, Juliana?"
        "No, Cousin.  I did have the good sense to take my meals.  I 
will do some more research on our problem while you and Zachary have 
your dinner."
        "I blame myself," Zachary said flatly as he and Laura sat down 
in the Dining Hall.  "I should have watched more closely -- Karina - 
and- you.  I didn't dream you'd both be so impulsive as to walk the 
Pattern unsupervised."
        "Nonsense!" Laura sputtered.  "I, for one, hope to learn a lot 
from you, Zachary, but you're not responsible for us."
        "Ah, but I am.  You are new to Amber and need looking after."
        "Well, I don't know about Karina, but I'm doing fine," she 
grinned.  "Really, Zachary, I hadn't planned to do a Pattern Walk last 
night, but I did read up on it from Corwin's chronicles.  I just wanted 
to look at it.  Then I was going to leave and reread it before I tried.  
But the Pattern had other ideas.  It just called to me."
        "That I can understand.  But still...."
        "Besides," she interrupted, "could anyone have helped me once I 
started?  One thing I learned is that a Pattern Walk is solitary and 
        "We could have encouraged you to strengthen your will when it 
faltered.  It was very dangerous."
        Laura grinned impetuously.  "Well, I made it, didn't I?  And I 
wasn't so foolish as to have the Pattern send me anywhere but my 
bedroom.  Otherwise, I'd probably have fallen asleep right there in the 
center."  Her expression sobered.  "To be honest, Zachary, I've never 
done anything that hard in my life.  I had some doubt there in the 
middle of it, but I made up my mind that come hell or high water, I 
would finish it.   And I did."
        Her smile was triumphant.  Zachary recognized that the will of a 
daughter of Amber was strong within his cousin.  What role she would 
fulfill in Amber was as yet uncertain.  Their dinner was brought to them 
and he dug in enthusiastically, if absently.  In between bites, Laura 
told him about her day beginning with her visit to Queen Vialle.
        "So,  Flora is your mother."  Zachary's tone gave no hint that 
he'd suspected just that almost from the time he first brought Laura 
through.  "She's quite lovely, my Aunt Flora.  A charming lady, and she 
brings lovely gifts from Shadow."
        "I'm afraid I'll have to reserve judgment on that until I meet 
her.  It's not easy for me to understand why she didn't let me know her 
for all these years."  Laura's eyes had narrowed.
        "I'm sure she had her reasons, Laura.  We never know when Flora 
will decide to leave Shadow and return home for a visit.  I hope you'll 
keep an open mind until she does."
        "I'll try," was all Laura could promise.  She did want to know 
more about her mother and vowed to ask Zachary to talk more about Flora 
when he was less distracted.  Laura also knew that her mother's 
apartment was not far from her own.  That presented some interesting 
possibilities she intended to keep to herself.
        She went on to describe her shopping trip to the City, bubbling 
over with excitement when she told him about Tovarich.
        "Grube said he was a good candidate for handling hellrides?  I'd 
say you picked well there, Laura.  If Grube said he could be yours, he 
knows the horse has accepted you.  Got quite an eye for that, our 
Stablemaster, and he's very protective of our horses."
        "I know.  It wasn't hard to see how devoted to them he is.  He 
seems to care about their riders, too."
        She went on to tell him about Grube sending one of his 
stablehands to watch out for her and how well Vegar had done his 
assigned job.
        "Really, Laura!"  Zachary was fired up again.  "You went into 
the Harbor District alone and unarmed.  Couldn't you have stopped with 
the clothes and furniture?"
        "Well, I couldn't very well go armed when I didn't have any 
weapons, could I?  Where better to get some good ones than in the Harbor 
District?  I admit I wasn't being as careful as I should, and I'm 
grateful to Grube and Vegar.  I think he's earned himself a promotion in 
the stables.  Still, I think I could have handled one lone thief.  I've 
had some training in the martial arts, Zachary."  Laura grinned again.  
"One good kick to the windpipe would have dropped the guy."
        Zachary sighed.  Laura had impressed him since her arrival.  
She'd shown herself dedicated to learning about Amber and about herself 
as an Amberite.  But she also had the arrogance of one of their kind.  
One Pattern Walk and she thought she was invincible.  She'd learn.  He'd 
prefer it wasn't the hard way.  One thing she'd said had piqued his 
        "You say your pin began to pulse when the thief approached you, 
        "Yes, as if it were trying to warn me."  Her hand came up and 
touched the diamond bow.
        "May I see?"
        Nodding, she removed it and handed it to him.  Zachary turned it 
over in his hands and held it up to the light.  He nodded.
        "You wore it during your Pattern Walk.  The Pattern is etched 
into your pin now.  Treasure it, Laura.  It will be an item that is 
yours alone and one you may come to rely on."
        "I always treasured it," she answered.  "It was the last gift my 
father gave me.  But I understand what you're saying.  I'm planning to 
have it put on a chain so I can wear it around my neck all the time."
        By the time they'd finished talking about Laura's events of the 
day, they'd also finished their meal.  It was easy to see that Zachary 
was anxious to get back to the Library, and a lot of the tiredness had 
left his eyes.  When he pushed back his chair and stood, she did, too.  
Juliana was waiting for them.
        "Anything?" Zachary asked.
        "Nothing.  You do look better, Zachary.  Are you ready to try?"
        "Yes, let me just focus my thoughts for a few minutes."
        "Would you like me to try to help?" Laura offered.
        "I think it better if we try by ourselves first, Cousin.  
Zachary and I have experience at this.  You, as yet, do not.  You 
understand, I hope?"
        Laura nodded.  She left her cousins to confer and sat down where 
some of the sketches Zachary had done of Karina still lay.  There were 
several sheets of unused paper and some sticks of charcoal as well.  
While she looked at the pictures of Karina, her hand moved without her 
conscious thought and began to draw.  She was making her own sketch of 
the missing young woman.
        Juliana happened to look over at her and nudged Zachary.  His 
eyes widened a bit and he nodded.  It wasn't the first time he'd seen 
signs that Laura wanted to draw.  It always happened when she was 
looking at the trumps.  He didn't even think she was aware of it yet, 
but he was.
        Zachary and Juliana looked up at Laura's outcry.
        "What is it, Cousin?"
        "I don't know, I don't know?"  Laura was very distressed.  Her 
pin was pulsing wildly and her head ached.  "I... I was looking at the 
picture of Karina and I saw something."
        "You saw Karina?" they asked in one voice.
        "No.  It wasn't that.  It was.. it was... I don't know what it 
was."  Laura's voice was agitated and she was trembling."
        "Try to calm yourself, Cousin, and describe what you saw," 
Juliana directed.
        "What I saw was white, just a shape, really, but it seemed 
alive.  Then I saw flashes of red, red all over the white, and I had a 
sense of terrible pain.  Then it was gone.  Vanished.  That's all."
        Laura looked back and forth between them, but her cousins were 
looking intently at each other.
Laura of Amber