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Lucent stands on the gardens outside of the pyramid, looking in forlornly

Imrama Still walking on a cushion of air, Imrama approaches the meloncholy figure, and comes to stand beside him. Imrama gazes at the same flowers, and speaks. "It has been a difficult day, Lucent Copper Haze. For our company, for the world."

Lucent looks up at Imrama, sighing. "It is hard to remember the last time something went right for us."

Imrama "Indeed. My recollections of my previous incarnation read like a catalog of woe. I had hoped, naively perhaps, that this life would be somehow easier...

Imrama "But now one of the Five has felled another of that number, while both were prey to the influence of Enemies of Creation. I am sorely affraid that the cycle is beginning again."

Lucent "It has begun while I was away. That always happens..." He grimaces and paces about, touching the roses and allowing the torns to entangle on his fingers. "We had two of The Five, and both are gone now. It must be frustrating to have missed them, Askaru."

Imrama "Tempting as it may be, Lucent, I cannot answer to that name. We inherit much from our ancestors, but we are not them. Still, you are very right: it is magnificently frustrating to have missed meeting Kiraith's incarnation by a moment, and to have Ymir's descendant streak past me in a scarlet blur before I could address him."

Imrama "Before I could appologize for what Askaru failed to do in the last age, and swear to what I must do in this one."

Lucent "We will find Kiraith's next incarnation, and tutor him or her, at least... and like I said before, I also... I had to apologize to Cerin." He plucks a rose, spinning it on his hand, dying its stem red with his blood.

Lucent "It must be very frustrating for you. All of this."

Imrama "It is frustrating, and I feel somewhat inadequit to the task before me. But it is mostly sad." Imrama turns to look directly at Lucent. "You have been here longer than I, Lucent. Tell me: is it the natural order of things for the Empress and her General to be forever at each others' throats?"

Lucent "... at each others' threats? Imrama, they are so friendly nowdays."

Imrama "I see." Imrama frowns, and looks back to the garden.

Lucent "I thought it was natural for us. We are exemplars of humanity, right? It follows our personalities will also be... intense. Alahwi and Wei Dan, saint and... well, Wei Dan. Ymir and how frightening she was, Cerin has much of that..." He looks up at Imrama, plucking a petal, "... thankfully, some of us are exemplars of being just... nice, right?"

Imrama "I have a different way of looking at it, Lucent. It is our purpose to be exemplars of humanity, to show to our kin what they can do, what they can aspire to be. So it is important, above all other things, that we afford compassion to each other."

Lucent "... but they do. See, that is something that I thought at first, as well. See... me and Thirteen, we were always at each other's throats. We had... problems, big problems. I hated him, for a time. But when it came to it... he was at my side, he trusted me. Thirteen and Zahara are very good friends, they just show it in their... particular way."

Lucent "Like siblings, I suppose. I guess you are an only child, Imrama Stormfound?"

Imrama "That is correct...to my knowledge."

Lucent "Right. So, see, siblings have those things of... fighting with each other. As do best friends. But when it comes time... they do care. The whole circle seems to work that way, you see. Unspoken caring, unspoken assumptions. Those seem to be a problem for you..."

Imrama chuckles briefly, and blinks. "I suppose that is a fair assessment. I have a plainspoken nature."

Lucent "They just... grow to people naturally. See, I always felt like an outsider. Until the day I decided to leave. The Empress was scandalized by that. She.. she cried." He says in a hushed tone, as if sealing it as a secret between them and the garden. "She cared, and depended, on me more than I could possibly know."

Imrama "I can understand, intellectually, that the Empress cares a great deal more than she likes to admit, to others or to herself. And I have caught a glimpse, here and there, of Thirteen's generosity of spirit, well concealed behind walls of brutal efficiency and cold conviction. Still..."

Imrama trails off, and passes his gaze over the garden, and then up into the sky.

Lucent "It is still new to him, though. He is confused. As is she. We are all... I suppose it must be hard to get to know us, now. It seems like each and every one of us is absorbed into him or herself, trying to re-learn how to... be. And doing so while saving the world, no less."

Imrama "This Circle holds my purpose - its members are my natural allies, and its work is my work. I know this in my heart. It is only a matter of bringing the wisdom of my heart to bare on the shape of the world. I will continue to try."

Lucent "The Circle does have the problem that... well, most of them tend to be closed into the Circle itself. We are surrounded by allies, but we do not reach to them much... Thirteen is an exception, as was Kai..." There is pain in his voice as he says her name. Fearing the worst. "Zahara is overwhelmed with the work of a Zenith, but.... well, we tend to get things done by ourselves. Kai was trying to re-create the Resplendent Sabres w

Lucent Kai was trying to re-create the Resplendent Sabres with Relovia, but... it is slower without her around."

Imrama "It occurs to me that the Sunlands are in need of a diplomatic emissary. It may be that I can provide some service in this regard. I do have some experience."

Lucent "Oh, indeed. Both for the factions within and without. Thirteen's negotiation with the Roseblack was... effective, but not quite how I would prefer it done, personally."

Lucent ".. speaking of. What sort of ecumenical gathering were you thinking of?"

Imrama 's face brightens, and gathers some intensity. "The Faith Ecliptic is a very important theological idea: it will serve as the ethical basis for the society we hope to build, and a powerful tool of recruitment to our cause."

Imrama "Or, at least, it has that potential."

Lucent "So you wish to call leaders of other faiths and try to show them the benefits and righteousness of converting to the Faith Ecliptic with their flock and Gods? That... is a terrific idea, Imrama."

Imrama "I would frame it somewhat differently."

Imrama "I would like to investigate on what points our new religion and the beliefs of our neighbors are already in agreement, or could come to agreement amicably."

Imrama "Our creed is still in its infancy, and I believe we would do well to absorb whatever is useable in the religions we will be, in some sense, competing with."

Imrama "Consider: we already have at least one ally among the Elemental Dragons, do we not?"

Lucent "To convert slowly, by adding tenets of our faith to them, and joining on those we already agree with? That seems a good id.." He pauses, looking down at his chest, where something lights... "Yes, yes we do. We have all, I believe. Hesiesh told me they would all help."

Imrama "Then I see no reason why we should not attempt to parlay their support into the consolidation of the Immaculate faith."

Lucent "... why did we never think of that before? That is a great idea, Imrama!"

Imrama "I'm glad you like it, Lucent. I have several others we can discuss, but I believe that all of them are for the future. We still have the all-important eclipse looming on the horizon."

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