Zahara knocks soundly on the door to Thirteen's chamber.
Thirteen "Enter, Dreambreaker, but have a care." As Zahara pushes open the door, a truly staggering array of scrolls, books, trinkets, tableware, and a few small animals greets her, scattered around Thirteen's ordinarily spare living area with abandon.
Thirteen stands in the center of the mess, frowning downwards.
Zahara does so, picking her way around the room until she stands with him in the center. The door slams shut in her wake.
Thirteen "I apologize for the inconvenience. An inventory is occasionally necessary."
Zahara "I see. What is all this?"
Thirteen "My possessions."
Thirteen "Do you remember how I..." Thirteen mimes eating something.
Thirteen "I have always carried all my belongings thusly, that I might never lack for them."
Zahara picks up a small furry thing, "I did not think you one to keep rabid badgers around."
Thirteen "But...now that I have a place to stay, it occurs to me that I might leave a part of my library behind, so that others might benefit from it."
Thirteen "There is a trick I can do after consuming small living animals."
Zahara raises a brow, "Oh?"
Thirteen "I can drain their life to restore my own. It is a bagatelle, but serves. Another time I shall demonstrate."
Zahara "I guess that explains why this one is so limp."
Thirteen "He may need to be replaced."
Thirteen "Does some task require my attention, Zahara?"
Zahara drops the badger, kicking it off to one side efficiently. "Yes. I require your tactical skills."
Zahara "Two things: First, we need to reclaim the attention of the Unconquered Sun."
Zahara "Secondly, we need to strip him of his title as Unconquered."
Thirteen "I confess that your thoughts match my own."
Zahara "I suggest that we do so slightly after completing the checklist, so that we are able to do so more easily."
Thirteen is about to speak when Zahara comments. He pauses and nods. "An astute observation."
Thirteen "While my plans on the matter are at the moment loose at best, they proceed along three primary lines."
Zahara "The lesser exaltations are achieved with the shattered shards of other Solars. If we were to acquire these shards, they could be put to far better use in us. A consolidation of power, as it were."
Zahara nods, and listens.
Thirteen "The first is as you have just said. In stripping Lai of his power, we may wax in power ourselves, better preparing us for the challenge before us; and in taking control over the Celestial Bureaucracy, as Lai seeks to do, we can only make our adversary weaker."
Thirteen "The second and third revolve around the same task. If we wish to better the Sun, we may be best off in starting where the Sun is weakest: the care and protection of his chosen children."
Zahara "How so?"
Thirteen "I propose that we seek out, when possible, the remaining Solars of Creation. Though they will most likely not be as well established and prepared as ourselves, it falls to us to nurture and lead them, and to bring them the sour news of our father's betrayal."
Zahara nods thoughtfully "We may need to establish an alliance and some sort of trust before breaking the news to them. It is not something to broach a conversation with."
Thirteen "Indeed. I am sure this will be no serious challenge for you."
Zahara "Of course."
Thirteen "Similarly, the channelcage technology will likely provide us the capability to create Exalts of our own. The Unconquered Sun provides an ideal example, both of the power of such creations to accomplish their maker's desires, and of the tendency of these creations to rebel if not properly cared for."
Thirteen "If we are to create such children, which I recommend, it will require a significant responsibility and dedication on all our parts."
Zahara "And a measure of control. I suggest all children of this sort would wear the collar."
Thirteen "At the same time, though, I suspect it would provide us with more power than is easily accessible through other avenues."
Thirteen "While I admit the prudence of such a step, I still possess misgivings."
Zahara "Those that achieve higher levels of trust could graduate, as it were, to the multi-flow kind, that they may gain benefit from it."
Thirteen "How would you react, if upon your Exaltation, the Sun outfitted you with such a device? What would be your primary goal and most pressing desire?"
Zahara "They shall know that they enter into our service in order to qualify for the Exaltation. It shall be a badge of honor, with no other obvious purpose than to show their allegiance."
Thirteen "How long would such a deception fool you or I? Perhaps a while, I admit it. But we would eventually learn of our creator's betrayal...as we have."
Thirteen "The sharpest pain of a parent is accepting that your child may one day grow to surpass you, Dreambreaker."
Thirteen "On that day, nothing will fetter them except whatever honest love we have shown them."
Zahara "Do you plan to be surpassed by these fragments?"
Thirteen "I plan for all eventualities, however unlikely."
Zahara "In any case, they will never be used unless they do betray us."
Zahara "Although, hmm... I should plan to allow them to contribute to our stores of Essence."
Zahara "There should be no deception, you are right. It should simply be a condition of Exaltation."
Thirteen "That...is more conceivable."
Zahara "After all, we wear them do we not?" She smiles.
Thirteen "Indeed." He smiles in return.
Thirteen "I must admit a measure of trepidation."
Thirteen "The Sun will be the greatest enemy I have faced."
Zahara "We, Thirteen Blooming Flowers. We will face him together. Have you forgotten our oath in the garden?" she smiles.
Thirteen lightly touches Zahara's shoulder. "Of course not. I will not be alone in my battle. And that gives me comfort."
Thirteen "I apologize for not having a firmer policy to place before you at this time. Rest assured that as the time draws near, everything will be made ready."
Zahara rests her hand on his and nods. "More than I had ever expected." she laughs a little, "Though my expectations upon our first meeting were, well, quite low. Apologies are not necessary, I expect that this plan will require thought on both our parts, and that of the others, before it is put into action."
Thirteen "Indeed. Thought, and effort."
Thirteen "I am glad we have both risen above our first impressions."
Zahara glances around the room, "Do you need help putting your library in order?"
Thirteen "A bookshelf would be most welcome. And, perhaps, a cage."
Zahara "Two things which we have in abundance."
Tags: (:tags Sol Invictus, Exaltation Checklist, Collars :)