She came to slowly under a bright sun. For a moment Aurora believed she was in the one place she wished to be more then any. Then she realized she was encased in crystal and wanted to cry. The world beyond was bright but hazy and indistinct. The second thing she became aware of was that she was breathing some sort of liquid.


She'd read about such a thing. Seen it in a movie once. It kept her from panicking. There was a crack in the crystal and she beat it until it broke. Liquid poured out onto the ground and she suddenly couldn't breath. Coughing and shoving at the crystal, Aurora finally was able to crawl out and take in her surroundings.

Where the hell am I?

Around her were other crystal cocoons whose inhabitants were stirring, fighting their way out into the sunlight under tropical trees from which sang large colorful birds. She recognized none of this.

She moved to help the people she didn't know from Adam.

One of the others noted the ruins of a stairway nearby and a discussion ensued among them - including an odd man with a jewel for an eye. Aurora found the melting crystal that held the things she had on her when she was last aware. Her magic was sluggish at first, slow to answer her command. But it was enough to rescue what she could; her pentagram, her crystal, the posey ring she had kept close to her for centuries. Her book of Shadows was a wash, as were her Tarot cards. Her clothes required a bit of effort, but when the suits started melting, she was glad she had expended it.

They had gone down to the sea then and washed off. She was distressed to learn that it had been the liquid on them that had allowed them to understand one another. Or her, as the case may be. They all spoke a common language that she didn't know. But the one named Kieran spoke Welsh, and O'Connell, Farsi.

While she helped restore the belongings of the others, she discovered that this island had limited magical energies. Once she drained an area, she had to move to continue working. It replenished over time.

While she worked, the others worried among themselves. She heard the word "Amber" for the second time in her life and asked Kieran and O'Connell to explain. They spoke of the Elders. All but she and O'Connell could identify themselves as a child of one of them. No one recognized the names of her parents. She still had no idea what she was doing here.

The size of the island concerned them; it was too small and the mountain not high enough. Even in the day it was possible to see the two full moons in the sky overhead; the others claimed this was also not right.

Exploring the island they discovered the ruins of a temple, broken and overgrown. Aurora needed signs of civilization around her. Channelling a power source that seemed to be deep under the temple's lake, Aurora raised the Temple of the Unicorn, restoring it to its former glory.

Kieran fished in the sea with a net transfigured by Aurora from strands of her hair. She created a jug out of sand and turned salt water into fresh while the fish cooked. She desperately wanted cheeseburger, but after who knows how long in a cocoon, that might be a bit much.

More cocoons were found in a sea cave and dragged into the light. The found a passageway in the back of the cave that hid steps leading down. They discovered living quarters, long abandoned. Aurora discovered they were partially animated somehow and showed the others how to enter the closed rooms. Speaking mentally to whatever was in control, Aurora discovered Ghostwheel; a brilliant construct created by Merlin. It was not the last time she would hear that name. Ghostwheel identified her as an Administrator and a command bracelet appeared on her wrist, allowing her to speak to him wherever or whenever she needed.

She attempted to gain the psychic imprint of whoever had lived in the room she took possession of. Inadvertently, the ritual also summoned the island's ghosts. Angry ghosts trapped on the island since the fall of Amber. Aurora coaxed one of a young girl into talking to her. The ghosts could hurt them while they slept. They would all have to walk the Pattern of Tir that night. Sleep during the day did not change anything; they saw the invasion force in the sky, more ghosts trapped where they had fallen. It was odd; even for Aurora.

Aurora had no idea what she was talking about, but the others assured her it was probably safe for her to walk the ghostly Pattern. She had nothing to lose. If they were wrong, she would die and continue her journey to the Summerlands.

She half hoped they were wrong.

The visions had not left her, she discovered. She had one of a unicorn that came to her and gave her a crown of flowers. She had no idea what it meant, but settled on it being a thank you for the restoration of the temple.

She was forced to rethink her stance on the presence of deities in the universe.

She and Kieran were in the Temple when the kidnappers came. They had been told that no one lived on the island because anytime anyone tried, the kidnappers came and took them to be sold into slavery. Aurora had always had a dim view of slavers.

Slavers + Strange Land + Not Enough Answers + No Caffeine = Cranky Witch.

Aurora fried them with lightening bolts. Kieran looked at her warily for the rest of the day.

Aurora and Sophia had a few things in common. One of them was an appreciation for Kieran. Aurora did always try to play well with others.

Kieran didn't complain.

The Rebmans made an appearance and a time was arranged for the ritual to raise Amber from the sea. Kieran took Aurora out into Shadow to give her time to recharge and rest. Not much rest was to be had, especially after Sophia joined them.

Returning to Amber, they found it under attack by pirate raiders. Tired of being attacked already, Aurora pulled out the power rod she had collected from a wrecked crystal shuttle, channeled the power under the Temple lake, and she and Sophia blew the pirates and their ships out of the water.

They woke up in Shadow. Aurora had a vision of a red-haired little girl and a dark haired boy playing with kittens. Happy Father's Day, Kieran.

They returned to a much larger and taller Amber that had been populated by people brought in by Andelia and others. Robert called Aurora when he found a bunker of crystal shuttles. Unable to resist, they flew one out into the space, only to discover that Amber didn't have twin moons; one was a crystal space station.

Aurora giggled all the way to the landing bay. Kieran was completely lost.

The Fury's AI recognized Aurora as Empress. Having watched way too much Star Trek, Aurora assumed command of the station and set to work on making it fully functional. Up to her ears in crystal technology, their workings were interrupted when the scanners showed an attack on Amber. A Trump call from Sophia to inform her that she was taking the kids to Xanadu because of a plague outbreak ending in Aurora having Ghostwheel assist her in a teleport across open space to get to them when they came under attack.

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