alsoquin Belladonna has changed into somewhat more elaborate -- though still reasonably practical -- new clothes and deposited her things in one of the Cascade's innumerable spare rooms, and sits with Thirteen in the breakfast hall, as demonic servitors eagerly cook in the background.
Thirteen "What do you call this, Birds?"
Birds "I'm not sure what to call it... it's something like that islander food, the fermented banana pudding, but that had an unpleasant texture so I developed a cake..."
Cerin considers things as he chews on the array of fresh food on his plate, waiting for Zahara to arrive.
Birds "The alcohol makes it rise magnificently, I think. I might try adding wine to something a little more traditional when I have a chance."
Lucent walks in, hair barely combed at all, slumping on his chair and waiting
alsoquin Demonic chefs cackle in the background as one tosses eggs and several small waterfowl through the air to another, directly over the Solars' heads.
Thirteen "Good morning, Lucent."
Thirteen catches a duck as it flies overhead and eats it.
Birds just has time to hide her tombstone before Luc opens the door all the way.
Thirteen (a living one, of course)
kAFKaesque arrives looking much more calm and collected than she did when they arrived back at the manse. It is a wonder what a good session in the White Room can do for her psyche.
Lucent "Morning for all of you."
Lucent ponders saying something about Thirteen eating the duck, but has no will too
Thirteen "Cerin, something has come to my attention since last we spoke."
Lucent does, however, wave to Birds with a little more spirit. No tombstone, good
Thirteen "How acquainted are with with the workings of the Gates?"
Cerin "Good morning Lucent." He makes no move to reply to 13 immediately though, instead choosing the moment to kiss Zahara.
Zahara kisses him back and graces him with a smile, "Good morning, Love."
Cerin After this small diversion, and some dragonfruit, Cerin answers Thirteen "Quite well. I have studied the mechanisms and seen them when they have been ... tinkered with."
Thirteen "How long with it take you to disable one, such that repairing it would take longer than a day?"
Birds waves back to Luc and examines a stack of fruit critically. Did Cerin eat the last dragonfruit? What HAVE the help been doing?
Zahara takes an apple. An ordinary one, and reclines in her seat, watching the others.
Cerin "It would take me a number of hours. For all that they are complex essence systems, they are designed to cope with a great deal of damage."
Birds ::Zee, who's the young lady who looks all comfortable in Thirteen's lap? Does HE have a new toy?::
Thirteen pauses in his eating just long enough to spit up a bloodstained piece of paper and passes it to Cerin with one hand while snatching another pastry with the other.
Zahara ::So it would seem. He introduced me last night, and suggested her for a priveleged post here, which we need to discuss with Cerin. I find it amusing that she can look at him doe-eyed, but he cannot return the favor, as he has no eyes.::
Cerin takes the paper with interest. "A gift from your new companion?" He asks as he reads it, mentally plotting gates as he does.
Birds ::We DO keep failing to rectify that situation.::
Zahara "Have you considered leaving them open to a specific coordinate and not allowing them to close, thus being unable to redirect or open in the reverse direction?
Thirteen "Her first duty as my personal spy and bodyguard."
Cerin The expression on Cerin's face clearly asks 'Bodyguard?' but he continues "That would require a ferocious quantity of motes, my love."
Thirteen "The specific method of interference is not important, as long as we can meaningfully put them out of service for the duration of our assault."
Zahara "I have extras lying around, you know. Although I had hoped to use their resources to aid my own, rather than committing them to the gates."
Cerin "I am not sure that we can. There is the additional problem of how to reach the other gates once we have sabotaged the one we are at."
Zahara ::I have had a thought in that regard. Would you like to help? It involves spiders.::
Zahara "Well, obviously we open them all to the central gate so that we can return to it."
Birds ::I have not historically been friends with spiders, but, /for Thirteen/, we can put our differences aside.::
Zahara ::How sweet of you!::
Birds "Is it necessary to sabotage the various gates individually? Maybe we can somehow disarray the coordinate system."
Cerin considers Birds' suggestion, the paper infront of him and the pastry he chews on absently.
Birds "The Water Pole looked sort of...portable..."
Zahara adds Cerin into the conversation, ::Cerin, love, do you still have that pattern spider?::
Cerin "I am not sure that moving the water pole would reduce our problems."
Zahara "It may change the coordinates though."
Cerin "It might."
Thirteen "I fear we will need certainties, not possibilities."
Zahara ((remove the word 'pattern'))
Zahara "Certainties take time."
Cerin nods to Thirteen. "I can add another possibility. Though not to do with the gates."
Zahara "I could have a demon at each egress, however."
Cerin "Amongst Ymir's possessions was a small grey ring. It does ... something. At ... some time. That time is determined by the stars, though I could not find the constellation. That should at least tell us when, if not how it will effect things."
Thirteen "I am not sure that would provide enough force, although it is something to be considered."
Zahara glances over at Bella, consideringly.
Thirteen "On that paper, three stars appear in a certain configuration."
Thirteen "Is that configuration suggestive to you?"
Cerin ::Thirteen, could you ask your companion to hrm go somewhere else for a short while?::
Thirteen ::Assuredly, if you feel it is necessary.::
Cerin ::I intend to share somethings I have considered regarding the sun and the seals and the nets.::
Thirteen "Donna, you must acquaint yourself with the formations and tactics that will no doubt be used in our battles to come."
Thirteen "The documents in question can be found in my study, in the topmost drawer of the ebonwood desk."
Thirteen She obligingly goes, though not without a certain amount of pouting.
Lucent pays a little more attention to this
Cerin "Thank you." He gestures at the demons to file out too.
Zahara looks over at Cerin curiously. ::Something important?:: She shooes the demons off as well, telling them to restock the fruit bowls that Birds had noticed empty before.
Birds leans in and pays closer attention.
Cerin "I know how the net that Selonis spoke of was staked." He sets his seal down on the table.
Lucent puts his hands on the table, /definetly/ less morose than before "How?"
Zahara fingers her own Seal, currently strung from a simple necklace.
Thirteen "Please, clarify more fully."
Zahara 's eyes widen, as she considers the implication of the seals.
Cerin "The five seals of the diliberative." He says to Lucent. "Spread over most of creation."
Cerin "Consider if you will...Thirteen, could I have the map of the planes that you carry?"
Zahara "Of course.."
Thirteen coughs it up.
Cerin spreads the map out. The night seal he places on Bi'Allah. Grapes are placed on Xara and Atomnos and Meru.
Lucent "All around, right? Atomnos, Xara... I know that."
Cerin "Consider, if you will, a net strung between these points."
Cerin "The fifth seal is most likely on Tesearah, I feel."
Lucent "... the seals are the stakes?"
Lucent "But they were all on their places, right? And we could only return after the stakes had been taken out."
Thirteen "Except for Wasirru, which is outside the bounds of the net."
Zahara "The Empress had one, when she disappeared."
Cerin "So consider the events of five years ago. The stake is pulled. the net unfurls, we can return."
Thirteen "And Yu-Shan, and Malfeas, but we can leave them aside for now."
Cerin "Since the empress had the dawn seal."
Cerin "While it did release the last few 'fishes', it also both allowed the Lily to act, and, of course, secured a seal."
Lucent "That Dragon-Blooded disappearing is what pulled the stake? Ah..."
Cerin "For whoever now holds the Empress."
Lucent "How did that allow the Lily to act?"
Lucent "Oh, wait. Yes. Sorry, it has been a while. I forgot about the weapon."
Cerin "The seals enforced also an ancient binding against the terrestrial gods taking action."
Thirteen "The implication, of course, Cerin, is that Ymir was responsible for the creation of the net."
Cerin "Indeed. Her choice of Bi'allah was not idle."
Birds raises an eyebrow.
Birds "What would motivate Ymir to do that?"
Cerin "Though also, she evidently intended to return."
Thirteen "That very question was on my lips as well, Birds."
Zahara "Ymir was responsible for a great many things. Is it she that judged us all, or did she recieve a directive from the Sun who ceased to love us?"
Lucent "Ymir... she's the..."
Cerin "I am in all honesty not sure. Had she not so evidently intended to return, I would think the net might have been her idea. But she seems to have planned for her return in a great deal of ways."
Birds fixes Lucent with a look. "Wait, we don't know the whole story yet. Our forebears had complicated lives."
Thirteen "It is of course inescapable that she could have returned the seal from Bi'allah and broken the net on her journey back."
Zahara "Perhaps she thought to capture the souls so that she could cleanse them, or release them at a specific time, when the turmoil from the Betrayal had died down.
Thirteen "She chose not to."
Thirteen "If she was aware of it, as I suspect she was, she must have felt it served her purposes at the time...or that the alternative was worse."
Lucent "It was the net that allowed us to be picked, for us to be corrupted."
Lucent "Worse than a world without us?"
Cerin "Yes. That I have considered."
Thirteen "Remember that she returned at the moment that Kiriath and Rosada confronted each other, and Alahwi took them to face the Chrysanthemums."
Thirteen "Any or all of these forces might have stayed her hand."
Zahara "What memories do you have of the First Age, Lucent?"
Thirteen "This raises more questions, Cerin...specifically, of Wei Dan and Wasirru."
Thirteen "Why was the net not drawn tightly enough to contain my home?"
Thirteen "And why did Wei Dan not return until merely twelve years ago, if he was free to return at any time?"
Lucent "Beauty. Wonder. Fighting against grand things from beyond. Fringe from the deliberative, but there are memories of meetings with... you. All were so... grand. Rosada, Ymir..."
Lucent his eyes shine when he says that. Like it is so more... vivid, for him
Lucent "I remember details. Not the end, however. I never remember the end."
Zahara smiles slightly, "How like you."
Cerin "It is possible that he died on Meru, and fell from the net or a basket those 12 years ago."
Lucent "Maybe I am supressing this 'corrupted monsters' part everyone seems to believe in..."
Lucent "But all I see is light."
Thirteen "No-one can deny that the First Age was at least as great as it was terrible."
Zahara "It is not belief, it is simple fact, Lucent. Ask Selonis, if you need to."
Birds "You are a wonder, Lucent. It is good that you are here."
Lucent smiles, for the first time tonight "Thank you, Birds..."
Birds "Still, I think those things you remember... I have read stories in Iallu's library and they are festooned with tragedy and pain. You are very lucky."
Lucent "I belive you, Zahara. I will want to hear details, but I believe you."
Lucent "I am just... afraid. I remember it more than you do."
Thirteen "But what let him out before the rest of you?"
Thirteen "It cannot be coincidence."
Birds "Yes, how did Wei Dan do that?"
Thirteen "There is an explanation."
Thirteen "Perhaps it is to be found on Wasirru itself."
Lucent "When I heard about Rosada... I saw it. I saw his former life, and knew he was the monster who destroyed my kingdom. To hear about others I might remember being monsters... it would hurt too much."
Cerin "If it is to be found anywhere, I suspect it is there, yes."
Birds filches a morsel from Luc's plate while he is being all impassioned.
Thirteen finishes off Belladonna's food while she is away.
Lucent "... I saw that, Birds."
Thirteen "We have some time yet til the Eclipse."
Thirteen "Zahara, you are perhaps the best suited for handling the Gates that need to be blocked or closed."
Zahara "You have seen none of us in our former lives? That is probably for the best. Whatever you think we are now, we are nothing compared to the past."
Thirteen "If you would assist us by researching the most efficient and straightforward way to do so, I would be most gratified."
Thirteen "I believe, though, that I will call on my home."
Zahara "I will think on it, but I have other things to research as well." she frowns in thought.
Birds "Saw what?" Birds swallows hastily. "I'd like to see Wasirru."
Thirteen "What ingredient needed seeking?"
Cerin "From Wassiru? Fruit."
Thirteen "I would like to see it as well, Birds, but for now I must content myself with merely visiting."
Cerin "The fruit of the Wassiru."
Thirteen "If you wish to accompany me, and see what I cannot, I would be pleased to have you with me."
Lucent looks cross at Birds. An almost happy way of cross, though. "Sadly, I will not be able to."
Lucent "I have told you all I will be leaving, right? Right after the funeral."
Birds "When will we expect your return?"
Zahara raises a brow, "You're LEAVING?"
Thirteen "I fear, Lucent, that we may have to delay the funeral until after we return from our respective journeys."
Thirteen "The war cannot wait."
Birds says it in a tone that says, we all know sometimes we need time to ourselves, but this is not the time to disappear indefinitely.
Lucent shrugs "When I can believe again."
Lucent "... sorry, Zahara. I just... I cannot use much of my essence like this."
Zahara "We're going to have a little talk, you and I, as soon as we're done here."
Thirteen touches Lucent's hand lightly. "Go in good health, and return before the eclipse. We will need you."
Lucent "Cerin can probably tell you. We turn our faith in armor, and... I just don't. I can't believe anything."
Lucent "Without faith, I am dead weight. I could go, but I would be destroyed like some Dragon-Blooded."
Lucent "I will try, Thirteen."
Lucent "I will try."
Zahara "Your magic is not powered by faith. It requires no faith. You are simply being weak in the face of the truth, at a time when we need all our resources."
Thirteen "If you will excuse me, I will ready myself for the journey."
Lucent "Zahara... it is... not like that..."
Zahara "Isn't it?"
Thirteen gets up, eating his plate, and proceeds to his room.
Lucent presses himself against the chair a bit. Making Zahara angry... is not good
Lucent "I told you. We work differently. I... I find it hard to do... anything, like this."
Cerin ::Do not be too hard on him, my love. I will see you when I return from Wassirru::
Zahara "You think there's something holding you back, and there is. It's your choice. You are young, and foolish. Put away your fears, and concentrate on living - on *Saving Creation* until this is over. The fact that you KNOW the Sun is not watching makes absolutely nothing different than it was before you knew."
Zahara "Nothing but what is in your mind."
Lucent "Maybe... if it is that, then I will be back sooner rather than later, I hope."
Lucent "I... I am sorry, Zahara.. I did not mean to upset you."
Birds pats Luc on the shoulder and says to them both, "Try not to make each other cry." ::Cerin, Thirteen, I'll see you at the gate.::
Zahara "If you think you are the only person dealing with this betrayal, you are wrong. The rest of us do not see fit to abandon our duties to go off to sulk." She growls.
Lucent "Goodbye, Birds..." He waves, quite sadly... not taking his eyes off Zee "Zahara, I... it is different. It is different from all of you. You... you did not see it... believe it..."
Zahara "You're wrong."
Zahara "I too prayed to Him. I too saw His Glory reflecting in mine. I understood that he was greater than all of us, and that our power came from him. But unlike you, I was not blinded to the signs we saw all along."
Lucent "You have no idea what it is to believe on anything so strongly and have it shattered, Zahara... you believe in yourself. You believe in Cerin, and even if he betrayed you, you would still have yourself to fall back on... far as I can remember, I have always had the sun..."
Lucent "... you did?"
Zahara looks directly into his eyes, her own opaque. "Have I ever not called myself a Child of the Sun?"
Lucent "... no, not ever. I just... I had no idea. When I learned, Birds said how much it hurt her, but not you...'
Zahara "Even now, knowing that our Father has given up on us - wishes He never bore us, we are still blessed by him. He has not stripped us of our power, just the demonstration of his love. He cannot abandon us fully. He can only hope we will redeem ourselves in his eyes - and failing that, we will prove to him that he cannot ignore us anymore."
Lucent "But... but, you had talked about fighting him. Not redeeming ourselves..."
Zahara "We all seek his sight in different ways."
Lucent "... I had no idea..."
Lucent "Still, Zahara... I will have to find out how to do that."
Lucent "I will try to be back soon. I promise. If things ever get really bad..."
Lucent "I am not like Kai. I will not take the ring off."
Zahara "Leave, then," she turns away. "I will shoulder the burden myself, as I always have. Go off on your quest to find yourself, we can do what we need to without you. But if you go, do not expect to be welcomed back with open arms. I thought I could count on you, but I was wrong."
Lucent "You CAN... could... but... I cannot count on myself, now."
Lucent Tears stream on his eyes, "Please, Zahara... do not.. turn your back to me."
Lucent "Not you, too."
Zahara "It's your choice."
Zahara inhales slowly, the slightest tremor in her breath as she forces control on herself.
Lucent "... and I have made it..." He gets up, slowly, sobbing, turning to the door... "I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry... but I will prove you, when I come back. That you can count on me. You can... please, lead the Kashaen. Keep them safe, use them to bring glory to the sunlands. I am not weakening you further, just... sorry." He says, at the door. "I will be back..."
Zahara turns to look at him once, "I hope you find what you are looking for there, since you cannot find it here."
Lucent walks out, with only a murmur on the ring. ::I hope so too...::
Zahara 's voice is tinged with sadness.
Zahara ::Keep the ring.::
Zahara waits for his presence to leave the Cascade fully before sitting down again, softly murmuring, "One by one, they are gone. And then they wonder why I do not let people in. Why I do not trust."
Zahara looks over at the hole in the table where Kai had sat, then stands and walks over to Luc's place, very deliberately, and slides her fingers through the tabletop, carving out an exact replica of the missing piece. She takes it with her when she leaves.
Tags: (:tags Belladonna, Gates, Starmetal Ring, Selonis, Seals of the Deliberative, Empress, Ymir, Bi'Allah, Wasirru, Wei Dan, Sol Invictus :) < A Sprig of Belladonna | Sol Invictus Logs | I Will Do The Impossible >