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Zahara waits for the others to heed her summons to the war room, where she sits on her throne, with the ash cloak draped over the back.

Imrama stands across the table from Zahara, waiting patiently. "Empress; may I make a request?"

Zahara looks up and smiles, "Of course."

Imrama "I would greatly appreciate a place to sit." Imrama smiles, broadly.

Lucent steps into the war room drapped in golden and sapphire, without his usual robes, but loose azure pants and a shirt with designs of a trinity of birds, almost hidden by a golden jacket. Although he lacks the coronal, Venus and Mercury play about him. He seems to be in good spirits. "What happenned?"

Imrama "Something wonderful."

Thirteen walks in, out of sorts, still cradling the Grim Reminder in one hand.

Lucent "... really?" He smiles, allowing Mercury to go close to Imrama... and form a seat in the shape of a mercurian caste mark.

Zahara blinks, then realizes her gaffe, and laughs. "Ahh, of course Imrama, give me a moment." She thinks for a moment, and then there is a glow of light that spins from her fingers, forming itself into long planks of golden wood that she efficiently assembles into a captain's chair similar in style to his ship.

Imrama "Many thanks, Dreambreaker." Imrama takes his seat, with clear joy and satisfaction.

Lucent sits down on his chair. "So, tell me! What has been going on?"

Zahara seems more herself as she's been since she was taken. A slight smile lurks on the edge of her lips, and she is focused. She bows lightly to Imrama and reseats herself.

Imrama "The Empress and I have been to the Wyld, and have seen many things."

Imrama "I asked the following question of the Heart of Chaos:

Imrama "How may Cerin the Wolf be redeemed from the Yozis and restored to himself again?"

Imrama "We were graced with an answer."

Lucent waits expectantly

Zahara "But the answer is also a puzzle. The Wyld is never clear when it can use metaphorical obfuscation instead." she smirks slightly.

Thirteen "Hm."

Imrama "Obscure metaphor is the native language of the Wyld. I would not fault anyone for speaking in their bourn tongue."

Thirteen "And what was this answer?"

Imrama produces a few lengths of parchment. "I did my best to record the images as they appeared. Thirteen Blooming Flowers, I thought you might want your own copy to...eat."

Thirteen "Most thoughtful. Thank you."

Thirteen does so.

Zahara describes the vision in detail, occasionally adding in her thoughts on what things could mean.

Thirteen "Hm."

Thirteen "Not a particularly challenging riddle. Destroy Nyx, using the Chime of Ages, and we will free Cerin's soul."

Zahara "Basically, yes. And also shatter their influence over Creation."

Imrama "At least for the time being."

Zahara "Yes, of course."

Zahara "But, the process is still difficult to discern."

Imrama "Zahara, I noticed, both earlier and in the vision, that you have one of the fragments of the Chime of Ages."

Thirteen "Since the device was created by a former incarnation of you, Zahara, I suspect that it is merely difficult to discern because we are not you, and you did not intend any but yourself to use it."

Zahara removes the amulet, and lays it down on the table. She plucks the chime from her pocket and lays it next to it. "Ah yes, but the problem is that I am not Talmuda. My memories of him are sparse at best."

Thirteen "Yes. That is indeed the problem."

Zahara "Your insight astounds me."

Imrama raises an eyebrow. "Empress, may I ask how the chime-fragment came into your posession?"

Zahara takes the time to study both objects, looking for the interaction of their Essences. She does not look up, as she replies calmly, "Cerin gave it to me."

Thirteen "You must excuse me. I am busy concerning myself with more productive avenues of investigation, such as the remains of Siram."

Imrama "Cerin gave it to you during your last meeting? Does that strike anyone else as significant?"

Zahara raises a brow, tapping the chime lightly. "Ah yes. and how is that going?" she hmms. "Yes, quite significant as we were attempting to subdue him at the time."

Thirteen "Slowly, due to your meddling. It will take much time to restore him to a reasonable level of consciousness."

Zahara "Will you STOP blaming ME for that? I didn't SHOOT HIM."

Zahara glares at him

Zahara "I realize you can't SEE, but I have told you this before."

Thirteen "You rang the Chime."

Thirteen "I will need your assistance in binding him once he can muster his former strength."

Lucent "He was giving you the means to free himself, then."

Lucent smiles. That would be like him. "Siram. For once, I am glad you know how to give another pain, Zahara. Do not have any mercy on that."

Imrama "That is what I believe, Lucent. And that is particularly happy news."

Zahara "Would you rather have had Markuran's shard be reborn already possessed?"

Zahara "I would prefer not to raise him to his former strength. In fact, I will not assist you in doing so."

Thirteen "Since we both know that to be obviously impossible, it was not a foremost concern of mine."

Zahara "Has Siram given you personal cause for hate, Lucent?"

Thirteen "Zahara."

Lucent "Yes." Lucent says simply. "But I... agree with Thirteen. We must make it talk."

Thirteen "Please do not allow your personal feelings to interfere with what we must do to save Creation."

Zahara looks closely at Lucent, ::What has he done to you?::

Zahara "Making it talk is separate from restoring it to its former strength."

Thirteen "He is mindless in his current condition, Zahara."

Lucent "And he cannot tell us anything, then... and we need to know." He sighs. "Zahara... I am not any happier than you are, but we need it to talk. At least, before we can have Cerin put a god-killing arrow through it."

Lucent ::I will tell you later. I promise.:: There is a faint light from Lucent's bracer

Zahara "I understand this. What exactly do you think Siram will tell you? We have seen the way to approach the problem at hand, without potentially loosing Siram on Creation again."

Imrama "Siram can be held without that risk."

Lucent "... how?"

Imrama "If the General is certain we need to interrogate him, I can make sure he cannot leave."

Thirteen clenches his fist, then stops. "As you wish, Zahara. We will discuss this matter at another time."

Zahara "Imrama, how would you do such a thing?"

Imrama "It is a matter of charms; specifically, two used together. One which wracks the enemies of Creation with overwhelming pain, and forces them to flee, and the other which commands any I choose to stand and face me."

Thirteen "Clever."

Lucent winces. "Combining both... cannot possibly be pleasant for the creature." There is a tinge of an almost vicious smile as he finishes saying that.

Zahara smirks. ::Tell me, Lucent, what your grudge with Siram is.::

Lucent ::I will tell you later, Empress. I promised. And I am not going to break any more promises.::

Lucent ::The one in the pyramid, it was bad enough...::

Lucent Zahara can see he is not... actually as high-spirited as he seems to be. Always the masks.

Zahara ::If you do not tell me now, and I find out in a way that is less than pleasing... :: the threat is implied without words.

Zahara picks up the amulet, focusing in on it. "This is the key." She examines it minutely, the world around her becoming muted and the amulet seeming to become brighter and more intricate, more detailed. She can see every line that runs through it, every curve in the design, and she knows that somehow, somewhere, she knows exactly what it does.

Lucent ::Trust me. Please.:: Is all he says, looking at the amulet... "Yes."

Zahara ::Trust is a precious commodity in a time of shadows. ::

Lucent ::I have promised, Empress. And I make good on my promises. But now is not later.::

Zahara lifts the amulet, and fastens the chain around her neck.

alsoquin Amulet and chain brought together, and donned with intentionality... Zahara feels the energy within grip her heart with an unexpected fervor... what shreds of caring and compassion exist within her seem to hum and glow at its touch, and she feels as if an unknown strength of purpose is lurking just out of reach.

Zahara looks pleased for a few seconds, and then severely annoyed. "Sometimes I hate him."

Lucent smiles. "Oh? What sort of trigger did he leave?"

Zahara "I wouldn't be smiling if I were you." She stands, and walks out of the room.

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