Birds is in her chambers, quietly directing several maids to take away the brightly-coloured decorations, dispose of the fresh cut flowers, roll up the rugs, and drape everything in white.
Birds "Those too. You can throw them out the window, the garden needs water. Send Halima for dried tomb lilies and black willow branches."
Lucent knocks on an already-open door, covered in white-and-golden clothes and cape, but without many of his items of power... "Why white?"
Lucent "And, well... can I come in?"
Birds "White because I am already dead. Yes, come in. Make yourself comfortable."
Lucent just... stares, from the door, shocked by her words "You seem very alive to me..."
Birds "It is only a matter of time. Tell me, how many of your Caste survive?"
Lucent "... one other. The other Circle has one, I think. Markuran, if you want to call *that* life... what I would not. You have Cerin, at least."
Birds nods as a side door opens, bringing an attendant with a weaver and angyalka in tow. "Will you do me a small favour, Lucent?"
Lucent "If it is at all possible, Birds."
Birds "I do have Cerin. He is a comfort of sorts.
Birds "Simply take this bolt of silk and burn it with your power."
Lucent picks it up and... flares. Little dots of sand touch Birds' skin, ruffle over the flowers yet to be disposed off, almost hurting, but not. Shining brightly with a desert-sun colored flame... and then, it is done.
Birds gasps. "The other circle? You have not met them, I think..."
Lucent "Here. And no. I know they exist...that is all. I should have looked more into them, really..."
Birds turns to the weaver. "Weave me a cloth-of-ashes."
Lucent "There just seems a dislike in talking about them. Like there seemed to be a dislike of Zeniths, when I walked in. I wonder, if your first Zenith had been me instead of Markuran, if things had been different..."
Birds "Markuran was... something to behold."
Birds "I think we have simply forgotten the western circle accidentally. We will reopen communications with them...it is about time. But, you came to see me about something, I think?"
Lucent "He was the reincarnation of one of the great ones in the Deliberative... me, I was just one of the Solar Kings from the southern fringes. Protected the world against many a menace... but not one of the brightest names, I suppose." He shrugs, "The girls seem to miss him, however. He seems to have made quite an impact with everyone... but his peers."
Birds The harpist opens up the book by its harp stand, and begins to play a lament.
Lucent "I did." He nods, sitting down, watching the harpist... "It would just be... impolite to just start on it, I think."
Birds "I think he has affected us more than we let on. I said you you once that I trusted too many people - he was one of them, maybe."
Birds "Please, don't stand on ceremony among friends. Have a cake?"
Lucent "Please." He smiles, just a bit. "I did too. I trusted the world too much."
Birds more or less pushes Luc into a comfortable chair and stands in front of a mirror, adjusting the tombstone sitting in her hair.
Lucent "You said you lay awake, some nights.. after you learned that."
Birds "Yes, well..."
Birds "It does take some time to get used to."
Lucent "I do not think I will ever get used to that."
Birds "Perhaps not."
Lucent "It is... I talked to Thirteen, to Cerin... it is different for them. For them, the world does not make sense. It did for me. There was order. Gods, Laws. The world worked, with an up and down, laws and criminals. I am not sure if it still does."
Birds hovers by the arm of Luc's chair.
Birds "When I was young, things made sense to me too."
Birds "I was a living treasure. If I did not cook, the ruler would not eat. I defined the history of that kingdom."
Birds "Then something changed. Someone asked me a question I couldn't answer."
Birds "Don't worry. You'll figure out the world again sometime."
Lucent sighs "Why is it always about age, to you? Creation is full of old men as the head of their cults."
Birds "That's what it sounds like, I guess. It really isn't. It's just time."
Lucent "And it does not pass the same for everyone?"
Birds "When did the world betray you? Only just now... the wound is still fresh."
Birds "What are you going to do about it?"
Lucent "No idea. I will need time to think."
Lucent "I think I will go away. I am no use for you like this."
Lucent "My power... it comes from my faith. If I have none, I am powerless."
Birds "Those of us that we have lost, Markuran, and the rest, whose names we never knew..."
Birds "We must have a funeral for them, and so put them to rest, so they may be reborn."
Birds "Will you oversee the rites?"
Lucent "I... I had not thought of that. How... selfish of me."
Lucent "Yes. Yes, I will. That, I can do."
Lucent "Even now. I worry for little more than them..."
Birds "Yes... they are foremost in my thoughts."
Lucent "We have to get them back somehow. Save what we can. If it is just us... Creation will be so much... less. I asked Cerin to look for them with Lai... I plead him... but he would not promise me."
Birds "Cerin will not promise what he is not absolutely certain of, but I am sure that he will do this."
Birds "Here is my plan - we will fill the Unbreakable Bond with incenses and hang it with prayer flags and sail it in the night to the uttermost west, and all the world will see it from below."
Lucent "That will be grand, Birds. And beautiful."
Birds "There will be a death's mask on its hull. From its decks we will strew bones. This country, from the Cascade all the way to the sea, will become a burying-ground."
Birds "Then we will feast to celebrate the return of our brothers and sisters."
Birds looks away suddenly. "I'm sorry, Lucent, I must go and see to the gardens. Thanks for stopping by." She tries not to let him see her face.
Lucent holds her arm "Birds... I feel for them too."
Lucent "It is just... I think I have cried all I could, today..."
Birds nods. "I understand."
Lucent pushes Birds to him, and hugs her. "It is... good to know someone else cares so..."
Birds returns the hug. "Remember you can come in any time."
Lucent "Everyone seems so worried about power... they seemed to miss the beauty. The grandeur, we are losing... but... but... thank you, Birds. Thank you, Thank you."
Birds "Thank you too, Luc."
Lucent shades his tears. He was not dry, after all.
Lucent holds her for a while, then dries his eyes. "May I ask you something?"
Lucent "What was the question?"
Birds "What adventure brought you here?"
Lucent "And why could you not answer it...?"
Birds "There was no adventure then, only routine."
Birds "Life is must more difficult now, but it is WORTH LIVING."
Birds *much more
Lucent "Like... a book? You only live what is worth writing about?"
Birds studies the ceiling for a moment.
Birds "I am not sure that is the cause, but it is certainly the effect."
Lucent "And that is why you do what you do? For the adventure?" He looks guiltily... "I am... not suggesting you are shallow or anything. You are one of the most caring ones here... just... asking. Trying to understand."
Birds "I have not thought about this before. Maybe, I have a dream. Once it was a dream like, tell the story of ten dynasties the way it happened, and make it moving and beautiful."
Birds "Then it was to find the truth that the world has forgotten."
Lucent smiles. It looks strange, with his face still red from crying "And now?"
Birds "Each time I pursue my dream, it gets larger. Someday I will catch it."
Birds makes a movement like sharpening a knife. "That will be a very good day indeed."
Lucent "A dreamer..."
Lucent gets up then, taking the tombstone off her hair... "I will miss you, Birds. And this does not fit you. You will live. You have to. You will live for a long time. And you have to take care of us."
Birds "If you insist."
Birds pouts a little then. "I am still wearing cloth-of-ashes."
Lucent gets on the tips of his toes and pecks her on the cheek "*That* will fit you. Because it's pretty. Morbid, but pretty."
Lucent turns around then, walking out... "Thank you, Birds. I will miss you when I am gone."
Birds "You will be missed as well."
Lucent "Hope you catch all your dreams..."
Tags: (:tags Teotecar, Funeral :)