I admit I was entirely
surprised to see Blaine waiting for me at the keep, after the dragon
had deposited me gently upon the stairs carved into the mountain.
"I value my own skin," was his cryptic response to my query bout his involvement in my rescue. He took me shortly to a shadow near Chaos, and said my brother and Rufus would be along shortly.
He stayed with me, but left me to my silence, for which I was grateful. My heart was too full of despair for what I had just witnessed. I had not lost hope, but I think, deep down, I knew there was no way Harlan could have survived.
My ruminations were shortly interrupted by a Trump from Kant, and the subsequent arrival of a very panicked Eve, and Blaine's quick exit. I was able to glean enough from Eve to realize that something very disturbing was going on, and the arrival of the others, and a comment from Justin convinced me that Griselda's ideas of the Unicorn being among us in human form might well be true. And all the clues pointed directly to Eve.
Mimeth's Plain was a
debacle. Not only were we too late to stop Emma, but Merlin and I
were hard pressed to keep Eve from goading Joaquim into killing her.
We had to force her through Justin's trump gate as we made our escape.
The resultant arguments and fighting once we were safe gave me cover to slip away. I found a horse not too far off, and turned it back to Chaos. I could not return to Amber without at least trying to find Harlan, even through his Trump was warm and dead.
The shadow itself was gone, a seething ocean of primal Chaos in its place.
I do not know how long I stood staring into that void, the image of the crumbling tower playing over and over again in my mind, before I turned my horse away. Long enough, perhaps, to convince myself that despite further searching (which I would do despite), I would find no sign of him.
I twisted the slim silver band about my finger, knowing that was all I had left of him...