< Word From Meru | Sol Invictus Logs | Void/Flame >

alsoquin After several long, upleasant days, Zahara finds herself several hours into the morning without a visit. The zipetok guards have dropped off food and water, as is normal, but neither her jailer nor her tormentor has been to visit yet -- a first since her arrival.

alsoquin Through the barred window on one wall, the light falls at an angle that indicates it must have already passed noon.

Zahara{EM} passes the time 'chatting' with Orem, finding boredom nearly as onerous as their presence. Though after contemplating that thought for a few seconds, she decides boredom is actually much nicer.

alsoquin The butterfly is perhaps not the most exciting conversationalist with whom Zahara has ever spoken, though he does continue to beat his wings in "response" to her statements.

Zahara{EM} speaks mostly of inconsequential things, though adds in a few more instructions now that she's had extra time to contemplate what they should be. Among them is the note that this is, of course, a trap.

alsoquin After a little while, the door finally opens, and Akuna, today dressed in a fine black and silver dress kimono, enters and seats himself, saying nothing at first.

Zahara{EM} cuts herself off in the middle of some useless comment about the ashes of Halta, then after a fraction of a second, raises a brow, and finishes it.

Akuna Ravdash waits politely for Zahara to finish, before smiling, baring his rather sharp looking canines. "Ah, yes, still quite talkative, I see."

Zahara{EM} "As always. Though the conversation does seem a bit one sided without you here."

Akuna Ravdash "Indeed." He snaps one finger, and as before, a servant immediately brings wine -- today, an unusual vintage with a soft red glow, probably from the near-Wyld regions of the southeast.

Zahara{EM} catches a whiff of the vintage and nods in appreciation as it passes. "An interesting choice."

Akuna Ravdash "Ah, you think so too? I have always been fond of the Rekush wines." He swirls it in his glass a little before taking a sip. "So. I have been hoping you have thought more about the nature of your opposition to our organization, in your time here."

Zahara{EM} smiles slightly, "Well, I must admit I was slightly *less* opposed to your organization before we met in person."

Akuna Ravdash "Ah, yes, I can imagine that. I regret that perhaps there have been some... tragic misunderstandings between our two camps." He takes another tiny sip.

Zahara{EM} "First impressions and all that," she acknowledges. "But, you seek to remake Creation in a way which denies us our places. You seek 'new tools' thinking us less than what we are, and what we could be. Then of course, there was the establishing of spies in our midst and other such impolitenesses. Last, but not least, you never sent any diplomatic messengers, even after I demanded we stop incapacitating them on sight."

Akuna Ravdash nods. "Yes. I cannot argue; we spied upon you. Though you treat with others who have done the same." He pauses for a moment, grinning. "And we have not treated closely with you, though you have treated with those who oppose us first." He sips. "But deny you your places? No. Why would you think one such as I would assent to such an idea?"

Zahara{EM} coughs a bit, and pauses to catch her breath. "Well." she thinks for a moment, "Had you agreed that we are the rightful Masters of Creation, you would have sought our permission before embarking on your schemes."

Akuna Ravdash laughs. "That is truly precious." He snaps again, and a servant enters again, this time bearing a platter with fruit, cheese, crackers, and an unidentifiable, but clearly very carefully prepared, hunk of meat. The Lunar picks up an elaborately curved silver dagger from the platter and begins carving himself a fine slice of the meat as he speaks.

Akuna Ravdash "What success will satisfy you?" He takes a bite of the meat -- still quite rare -- and a tiny bit of its juices run down his chin before he dabs it off with a silk napkin.

Zahara{EM} eyes the meat, thinking of Birds' and her amazing pastries and sweetmeats. She looks away, feeling the saliva fill her mouth and willing it away with marginal success. "I will be the Empress of all Creation, and all the planes." she shrugs as well as she is able. "A simple thing, really."

Akuna Ravdash "Yes. The dream of a child." He places slivers of cheese and meat upon a cracker and eats it, washing it down with another draught of wine. "And it is not wrong, for children to dream. But not all dreams are destinted to come true in reality."

Akuna Ravdash He leans forward suddenly. "Surely you can see that, yes?"

Zahara{EM} chuckles. "Some might say so. And it is true I have little desire to rule over certain of the planes, as they are a bit boring."

Zahara{EM} "I take it you will soon present me with a counteroffer that I will desire deeply?"

Akuna Ravdash chuckles very slightly. "Let us say that I wish to know if you truly understand the magnitude of what you seek, first."

Zahara{EM} "I have nothing but time. Please explain."

Akuna Ravdash "You wish nothing less than to rule all that there is, yes? Some of those who run against may be unreasonable." He grins. "Like us. But not all." He takes a mango and begins peeling it with his ornate knife as he continues.

Akuna Ravdash "How will the queen of Rathess take it, when you demand that she swears fealty to you? Or the free nations of the south? Or the dragons of Lookshy?"

Zahara{EM} "Honored, of course." she responds drily.

Zahara{EM} "I have already saved them all."

Akuna Ravdash "Of course. Of course." He flays a piece of flesh from the mango and eats it, not unalike how he eats the flesh of the beast. "One could want naught but to be fealt to you, not just in word but in deed, sworn by eternal magic to obey your every desire. Is that correct?"

Zahara{EM} "Oh, not my every desire. I am a reasonable woman." she licks her lips to wet them.

Zahara{EM} "I don't know if you've noticed but all of my nation-states have retained a greater or lesser measure of their autonomy."

Akuna Ravdash "You are?" Akuna raises a single eyebrow. "And what will you do to ensure this? Now it is easy to slake your thirst for conquest as you war against us, of course. But what of afterwards? Will you slay the righteous to depose their kings and rule in their stead?"

Zahara{EM} "Why, perhaps I'll create an army of my own exalts, that will make me much more reasonable and restrained in my dealings, wouldn't it?"

Akuna Ravdash "You think to wound me, but I am ahead of you. I /know/ that I am willing to slay the righteous and tear children from their mother's arms to cast them down upon the stones in order to achieve my desires." He places another thin cutlet of rare meat upon a slice of cheese and takes a bite.

Akuna Ravdash "But I am reasonable. I recognize that there are many like ourselves in this world. Other Solars and Lunars. Others of power and ambition."

Akuna Ravdash "The Red Lily seeks a world in which all of us might be satisfied in those ambitions, free of the petty tyrannies imposed from above by those who style themselves the Incarna. One in which all the planes might be divided up amongst those who ought best to rule them."

Zahara{EM} chuckles. "I have more than myself to think of. I prefer alliances with the righteous, but if they stand in my way I will not hesitate to remove them." Briefly she recalls Tevezst's grim future. "The Red Lily does not seek such a world, or you would not slay the righteous and tear children from their mothers' arms. For they too have ambitions."

Akuna Ravdash "Even the ambitious must have the strength to claim what they seek." He snaps a tiny bone between his index and ring fingers as he speaks. "You have that strength. Now you turn it against us, and we both suffer. Your soldiers and mine; both have perished. But we could turn it towards our common goals instead. Do you not wish to pluck the Sun from the sky for his insolence?"

Zahara{EM} finds herself flinching at the sound of bone snapping and reprimands herself sternly, covering it with a laugh. "The Sun is rather annoying at times, isn't he? But I cannot accept your goals as mine."

Akuna Ravdash "And why is that, pray tell?"

Zahara{EM} looks him directly in the eye, "Because that would mean not casting you and your upstart ilk down and crushing you as you deserve."

Akuna Ravdash leans back in his chair. "Then all you desire is revenge? No armistice is possible? No offer I might lay at your feet might abate the hostilities between us?"

Zahara{EM} chuckles. "Offer yourself, and Markuran both to me for the rest of your lives, and I'll consider it."

Akuna Ravdash "Haha." He takes a long drink from his wine glass. "You negotiate as if it is you in the position of power."

Zahara{EM} "Oh, but I am."

Akuna Ravdash raises an eyebrow again. "Oh? You are?"

Zahara{EM} "You are seeking a truce with me and mine. I have no such notions." she chuckles. "That makes you the supplicant doesn't it?"

Akuna Ravdash finishes his wine and casts the glass to the floor, shattering it. "If you insist on viewing it in that way." He rises. "I thought perhaps you would recognize our kindred nature, Zahara. I do truly regret to... throw you away. Though I recognize how I might spit at you in turn, were I locked in your white room."

Akuna Ravdash walks over to the bookshelf and picks up the white cage, then walks over to the window.

Zahara{EM} "Perhaps some day you will get the chance."

Zahara{EM} frowns slightly, "Although I doubt it. Unless you wish to complete the deal I spoke of, I cannot guarantee your safety."

Akuna Ravdash laughs again. "I do not expect so, no." He opens up the cage, and the tiny butterfly, finally free again, flits its way out the window.

Zahara{EM} "I do recommend that you attempt to address such questions at the beginning of your next guest's stay, however."

Akuna Ravdash "Your... friend, will undoubtedly be arriving soon. I, of course, must be departing now, so I do not believe you will see me again." He bows slightly in mockery to Zahara.

Zahara{EM} "Ah, of course you run."

Akuna Ravdash "I am the commander of these forces, of course. It would be tactically unwise for me to remain." He nods again. "With your attitude as it currently stands, of course, we will not be able to allow your lover to leave these premises alive. But you should have some time to reconsider before he arrives."

Akuna Ravdash He pauses on his way out the door.

Zahara{EM} "Of course."

Akuna Ravdash looks thoughtful as he stands in the doorway. "Do you know what happens to those Exalts of my kind when we are Chosen, Zahara?"

Zahara{EM} bites her tongue on a snide comment about turning into animals, "Do tell."

Akuna Ravdash "We awaken, with no memory of our lives as human beings, surrounded by the corpses of those we have slain. It is often called the baptism in blood." He walks back over to the window, and looks out. "I can see where I awoke from here."

Zahara{EM} "Then we were Exalted similarly."

Akuna Ravdash "When we awaken, we remember nothing. But I did not accept it. I wished to know what path led me here, what life drew Luna's gaze." He smiles. "It took me five hundred years, but I remembered."

Zahara{EM} "Was it worth it?"

Akuna Ravdash gestures around. "I grew up not far from here. I was a young man when the Linowan raided my home, and harmed my sister. I was filled with rage. I ran in anger to their nearest enclave, and slew whoever stood before me. Infants. Women with child. Tribal elders. The sixty-two corpses I awoke in the midst of as their blood soaked the ground. And do you know what I learned from this memory?"

Zahara{EM} "No, what?" she asks, obedient to the narrative this time.

Akuna Ravdash "That it was better to leave the past in the past. Today I have led a force of those Linowan warriors to topple the last bastion of Haltan resistance. And soon I shall rule over both." He walks back over to the door. "Think on this as you wait, Zahara. Forget our past, and we can build a glorious future together. Or dwell upon it and sacrifice your present. I will accept either."

Akuna Ravdash The general walks out for the final time, and a zipetok warrior closes the door behind him.

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