Fri May 14 01:41:39 1996
Subject: [AM] Meeting of the minds
Scene: The Library of Castle Amber
        Laura trembled as she sat before them.  "What I saw what 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."  Her voice grew quiet.  "That's all."
        Zachary looked to Julianna, unspoken words exchanged between the 
two learned cousins, and then he looked back to Laura and her sketch.  
The sketch was not yet complete, but Zachary could tell that it was not 
just a copy.  Laura had drawn Karina in a slightly different stance, and 
a different style than Zachary; her own style, Zachary knew.  But they 
had little time for that now, though an idea struck him.
        "Laura, perhaps you could help us after all."  Zachary said.
        "Really?  How can I?"  She asked eagerly.  Julianna gave Zachary 
a questioning look as well.
        Zachary led the two women to where the final sketch of Karina 
lay.  "Concentrate on this picture as hard as you can, just as you do 
with the Trumps, only more so."  Zachary explained.
        Laura looked hard at the picture, her mind slipping further and 
further into a trance-like state as she concentrated.  To either side, 
Zachary and Julianna joined the young woman in concentrating upon the 
picture of Karina.
Scene: Grove of the Unicorn
        She could hear it now, the creature who's incessant howling 
gnawed at her nerves.  Karina hoped the fires would keep it at bay, for 
it did not sound like a creature should would like to meet.  The howling 
came again, calling into the night sky, but now she could hear padded 
feet over dead leaves, the odd snap of a twig.  She could only think 
that it was a wolf, and yet she knew that it was not, not the kind of 
wolf she knew.
        The flames flickered as a light wind threatened to blow them 
out.  Suddenly, a hunting horn pierced the air, sharp and loud.  After 
one long blast, the night became silent, with only a trickle of water 
and crackle of flames breaking the quiet.
        A burning itch came to her then, at the back of her mind, coming 
upon her so suddenly that she winced.  Though not painful, the pressure 
inside her head was building, seemingly growing within her mind.  What 
was happening to her?  How could she stop it?
        Her head felt as if it was expanding now, she couldn't hold it 
in, and clutched at her head.  Movement behind her caught her attention, 
and the Unicorn leaned it's head, touching her forehead with the tip of 
it's horn.
          A voice reached her suddenly.  A Trump contact.  Was 
that how it felt?    Another voice called, deeper than the 
previous one.    A third, subdued voice called.
        Three voices, all contacting her.  How was this possible?  
Karina wondered, then realized she should answer.  She could certainly 
use all the help she could get.  Before her, images appeared.  Laura, 
flanked by Zachary and Julianna.  "I'm here!"  She called back, both 
aloud and within her mind.
          Laura replied, the other two silent.  
        "I don't know.  I was trying to get back to Amber when I 
suddenly found myself here.  I need help."
Laura asked, peering at Karina as if through a fog.
        "I can see all of you very well.  I found a unicorn, and it's 
been shot with arrows.  Can I pull someone through to help?  I don't 
know what to do about it."  Karina said desperately.  She didn't want to 
admit that she wouldn't have minded some help defending against whatever 
was out there either, but somehow it didn't sound appropriate to say.
          Zachary replied, stretching out his hand to her.  
She quickly reached out as well, but grasped only air.  She tried again 
a couple of more time futilely.  Then suddenly, they were gone.
        Karina shook her head, peering about her.  It was as she last 
remembered it, though one torch had gone out.  Whatever the creature had 
been, it was gone.
Scene: The Library in Castle Amber
        "Should we try again?"  Laura asked.
        "Most likely, cousin, it will be for naught.  Whatever forces 
are at work, Trumps will not work as they normally do."  Julianna 
replied.  "No, we need to reach her by another method."
        "Do you think we can find the Shadow she's in?"  Zachary asked 
of his dark-haired cousin.
        "It may take some travelling, but we could find her.  I am more 
concerned of what was with her."  Julianna said.
        "That unicorn?"  Laura asked, and realization dawned.  "Is that 
the real Unicorn?"
        "I do not know, I would have to see it clearly.  But sometimes 
things are not just coincidence.  I hope I am wrong, as much as I would 
like to see it."  Zachary replied.  "Hellriding it is then."
        "You're going to shift shadows to where Karina is?"  Laura asked 
rhetorically.  "Could I accompany you?"
        Julianna gave Zachary a look, leaving it in the Crown Prince's 
hands to decide.  He sighed deeply.  "Something is going on here.  
Something big.  It would be best if you learn how to shift shadows as 
soon as possible.  A trial by fire, as it were.  Julianna, it may be 
best if you go ahead of us.  If Karina needs help, it's best she get it 
as quickly as possible."
        "Agreed.  You may find it easier to follow my path.  But I shall 
ready myself and leave immediately."  Julianna nodded to her two cousins 
and departed.
        Zachary turned to Laura.  "We will be riding horses through 
Shadow.  This will be a test of your concentration, and of Grube's 
training.  It may take some time as well, so you had best change to 
proper riding gear.  I will meet you at the stables shortly."
        Laura gave a quick nod and excitedly rushed out of the Library.  
Zachary glanced around the Library, as if searching for something, then 
left as well, heading for his father's chambers.
Scene: The Royal Stables
        Mikal Grube readied Tovarich as Laura waited at the entrance to 
the horse's stall.  "Rather late for a ride, is it not Lady?"  Grube 
asked, cinching the last buckle.
        "It's important that we get going as soon as possible."  Laura 
replied, taking the offered reins to her wonderful horse.  Grube moved 
quickly past her to a stall across the stable.  Laura followed, leading 
Tovarich after a quick pat on the nose.
        Grube hefted a saddle in with him, walking along the side of a 
young filly.  She was dappled gray, with patches of near why to 
gun-metal gray.  "She's beautiful."  Laura commented, the horse eyes 
looking back at her.
        "Aye, that she is.  Rainpuddle is her name, and I can't think of 
much the Crown Prince loves more."  He smiled as he placed the saddle 
across the gray's back.  Laura smiled at the filly's name, it fit the 
horse perfectly.
        "Are we ready, Grube?"  Zachary called, walking quickly into the 
stables.  Laura turned and smiled as her cousin walked up to her.  He 
wore mostly grays, with tough breeches and tunic, covered by a black 
riding vest and cloak.
        "Just about, m'Lord."  Grube called, ensuring the saddle was 
tied correctly.  Within a minute he was finished with the tack, and led 
the horse out of it's stall.
        Zachary thanked the Stablemaster, then turned to Laura.  "Shall 
we go, cousin?"
        "Lead the way."  Laura replied, and the two quickly threw 
themselves astride their horses, and trotted out of the stables.
NRPG: I thought I might add more, but I will save it for another time 
  Help is on it's way, Kat, just hang tight :)
Julianna will arrive first, especially considering her skill and 
experience at shifting shadow ... provided nothing gets in her way :)  
Zachary and Laura will be a bit longer, as Zachary is trying to teach 
Laura how to shift very quickly.  Have fun with that, Judi :)
                           ///          /// 
                           \ //        /  /           
      Christopher           \ ////   _/  /     Zachary, Librarian of
      Ackney                 \_  ////    /     Castle Amber, son to
                              \___/    /       King Random       /         \_      
                             /,)-_(  \_   \     
                             (/   \\ /\\\\         <\
                                   //               >\
                                    '               >/
        "It was a very foul blow, about four