Cerin Cerin is waiting in one of the upper gardens where he had asked people to meet with him. He has before him a very rough sketch of roiling clouds, a note of 'The cry of ten thousand, unbidden' and two small marbles.
Zahara plucks a purple flower from a twining vine as she walks into the garden, tucking it behind her ear. "Hello, my Love." She smiles and kisses him before she looks down at his sketch etc.
Cerin kisses her back, "Hello," he says with a smile.
Imrama enters the garden with a long piece of parchment in one hand and a quill stuck behind his ear. "Good day Huntsman, Empress."
Cerin "Good day, Air Admiral."
Zahara "Imrama. How are you today?" She smiles, but her gaze flicks upwards towards the sun for a second.
Imrama "I am well, Zahara. I am troubled by the myriad problems arrayed before our circle, but still the world holds many joys. Admiral Longwhiskers did the cutest thing this morning."
Imrama 's face takes on the countenance of a proud parent. "Oh yes." Imrama enters into a lengthy explanation and pantomime of a recent game of 'peekaboo'.
Zahara indulges Imrama by listening with apparent attention
Lucent walks in, clad in bright red and gold, the maidens shining in the Coronal, each of their symbols just as bright... but Sun and Moon were not in the shape of orbs, but little figures in Lucent's shoulders - the Moon sleeping on his left shoulder, and the Sun, having dyed his hair black and admiring it on one of the gems on Lucent's hair. "Empress, Cerin, Admiral. Am I late?"
Zahara half smiles to Lucent "Not yet."
Cerin shakes his head, and then casts his vision about the manse. "It appears that no-one else is coming," he remarks. "So I would like to talk to you about Tesearah. Spread before me is everything I could find on it within the manse and all our libraries."
Lucent "What is Imrama going on about?"
Zahara "Ah... peek-a-boo with his cat, I believe."
Lucent Tesearah. Cats. Tesearah. Cats. Lucent looks from Imrama to Cerin, and back again, until Luna whispers something in his ear, and he sits down looking at Cerin. Cat-tales would, sadly, have to wait! "What about it, Cerin?"
Imrama finishes acting out an adorable kitty wave, and then turns his attention to Cerin and the small set of objects in front of him.
Cerin "Well, we know approximately three things about Tesearch. Its name is one of them."
Zahara "And the others?"
Cerin "We need to retrive 'The cry of ten thousand, unbidden' from there and it is the current location of the Orrery of Light, to the best of our knowledge."
Zahara nods thoughtfully. "Well, we know they do not have a Seal as the foundation of their society, so it may well be a somewhat peaceful visit."
Lucent "We can always hope."
Lucent makes a silent prayer for that
Imrama "It seems to me that there we have at least one more clue to Tesearch's nature from the room assigned to it in the Auric Temple: a possible connection to the past."
Cerin "Ah, I did not visit that room."
Zahara "I would be interested to see you in the Tesearah room, in fact."
Cerin raises an eyebrow.
Zahara "The room seems to show something of the deeper nature of others."
Cerin "How curious," he says thoughtfully. "But then I suppose that fits. It is opposite from Bi'Allah, a realm of quiet and internal reflection."
Imrama "We have established that we know very little about this place. I believe that it is the only plane that, between the four of us, we have never ventured into. Perhaps we should correct this?"
Cerin "That was my goal in calling this meeting, yes."
Lucent "It does. Zahara has little critters close to her. And I am told I have a... beard." He touches his chin. "Not very fitting."
Zahara "Ahh, but it indicated your true age, and the red sands from your past. The critters... well, we'll see about that." She does not sound convinced that they have anything to do with her.
Zahara "Regardless, let us be off."
Imrama "Agreed!" Imrama rolls up his sheet of paper, tucks it away inside his jacket, and marches off towards the Fable.
Zahara follows, post haste!
Cerin gathers up his own papers and, more importantly, the marbles. He then strolls out at Zahara's side.
It is not too long afterwards that the Fable braves the dangers of the Leagues of the Looking Glass once more in order to arrive at the heretofore mysterious plane of Tesearah. (...)
As the door opens, the first thing the Solars notice is the strange feeling of levity -- like everything weighs less, as if movement is easier, yet slower. (...)
(*should be "as they enter the plane")
The landscape stretches out beneath the ship like a great piece of parchment, and the skies hang from an indistinct point above like fine sheets of silk, upon which vast clouds, far over-detailed and hyperreal like the work of a strange artist, blow at a rapid clip across them. (...)
On the ground below, hundreds of buildings rise up, sketchy and indistinct, their very forms uncertain like an unfinished pencil sketch; at a spot near to below the Fable, a courtyard opens up, its central fountain burbling freely yet oddly still. (...)
All across the plane, every color is desaturated, every movement subdued, as if seen in a distant memory.
Zahara lifts her hand slowly and opens her mouth as if to speak, or at least that's what she intended to do. Beautiful here, but strange. I wonder how hard it will be to make a thousand cry unbidden...
Zahara . various methods of making a thousand cry at once flit through her thoughts, beginning with cries of agony, and eventually considering one of markuran's speeches
Lucent looks, in awe... It is like this place is made of dreams
Cerin Must you always think of pain? And How exceedingly strange and yet beautiful is this place. Cerin thinks, intending as he does so to look around with his more refinded senses and walk to the courtyard.
Lucent shrugs, wondering if this was worth it, thinking about its skies on Creation, wishing to go back to Creation and help the Sun, somehow. Hoping this place is not made of heretics as Atomnos was.
Imrama .Will wonders never cease? Imrama intends to marvel at the strange and terrific world around him.
From below, the fountain is even more subtly beautiful, its sprayers moving and even merging or dividing at a slow but noticeable pace, the patterns caused by the intersecting streams of water shifting and changing as they do so.
Zahara x1;ACTION swiftly shuts down the line of thought that follows from the first thought of the big barbarian, the dark features of his face from the last time she saw him emphasized and looming over her. The Grim Reminder flashes towards her and suddenly her thoughts are rigidly ordered, focused entirely on the landscape and the problems ahead. The thoughts of the others arise around her and intrigue, then realization follows. /I do not
Zahara .I do not like this place
Imrama realizes the odd qualities of the plane, and his mind immediately drifts into the thoughts least appropriate to the situation. The image of Remembrance of Seven Tears drifts around his head, crying. Rovash the Infinite wanders by, wearing a suggestive smile. An orchid grows out of Imrama's chest, but it is rootless, and blows away on the wind.
Varanim wanders up from below, having staggered aboard in an ostensible drunken stupor and then cracking a book as soon as she found a private corner. She looks long and searchingly over the landscape. Quasistatic flow? - Kelen would have liked that - overlapping broadcasts, wonder if the faculty can hear - (incomprehensible diagram)
As the Solars step out of their vessel, inhabitants of the more distant buildings begin to slowly emerge. They are of many kinds: human, dragon-king, aalorai, okasha, fae; some have the unusually unique shapes that mark them as gods,
while others seem to be strangely intelligent-looking animals, or rocks, or chairs... all of them, though, have taken on the fuzzy and indistinct borders, and dramatically muted colors, of the plane.
Lucent blinks. They are all... together? This place is insane.
Imrama intends to step from the bow of the Fable and walk down to meet the assorted Tesearanians. I am so happy to meet all of you.
Zahara catalogues each inhabitant as to their potential worthiness, usefulness, and likelihodd of being important.
The crowd of unusual beings seems to pull forward as if animated by a single mind, though hundreds of distinct and different thoughts seem to flow about its borders: Who are they?, Why are they here?, I do not think they will understand, /Why did the previous visitors not speak of them?"
At the front of the crowd is a single individual, beautiful yet strangely ethereal of face, eight arms moving languidly as if blowing in the wind; Imrama picks out his name as Pramana. He steps towards the Solars, in a fashion that seems to say: I am asking your permission to step towards you
Varanim is instantly bored by the people, her attention instead flickering between boundaries--land and sky, water and air, hand and ship rail.
Imrama .You may approach, Pramana.
Those boundaries, too, are somewhat indistinct; everything here seems to have a mutable softness to it.
Pramana seems oddly collected and certain of himself as the crowd roils with thought and emotion behind him: I'm afraid, we need to ensure they understand, I do not recognize them, I'm starting to get hungry. (...)
He lifts three of his arms in a formal gesture of welcoming and thinks clearly, unhindered by the stray thoughts that fill the air elsewhere: We are Pramana, and here we are Tesearah. Why have we chosen to confer with ourselves on this fine day?
Zahara .Hundredfold. I wonder if they know about the... damnit.
Cerin Tesearah is the plane, and the state of conciousness both? Cerin thinks as Pramana addresses them.
Imrama .I have my own name and it is 'Imrama'. Each of my friends has their own name aswell. We are pleased to meet you, be we do not share your 'we' with you.
Varanim plane and consciousness intertwined everywhere - pfft, who's always pleased to meet strangers? - diffusive interface optical, or conceptual as well--what time scale? - (mass of squiggly lines)
The crowd behind murmurs more: They do not understand, Why are they all of the same shape? They must be the part of us that thinks foolish or unknowledgeable thoughts; do not join them in that, We three wil not be here to see what they bring to Tesearah, we should seek into the Imagining, Pramana is truly the wisdom of us.
Zahara moves to mimic the gesture of greeting, I am Zahara. We are here to explore and seek trade (this never works, does it?)
Pramana Beyond you and I, there is only we; beyond tomorrow and yesterday, there is today; beyond the Shape and the Void there is only here. In togetherness we greet ourselves. He bows deeply. All things are here together in great communion.
Lucent . I am Lucent. He bows, watching them, so confused. You say you met others like us? This is so weird. Too strange. Make sense!
Zahara . Others.. Lai and the Lily?
Imrama returns the bow. Your philosophy is intriguing, but I cannot join you in your axioms. Is the Shape the Wyld? If so, we are from a place that is neither Void, nor Shape, nor here.
Zahara looks across the mass of 'they' What is the Imagining?
Pramana .One which held the thought 'Lai' in its heart-space is part of us before now, he thinks. (...)
Pramana Behind him, the crowd swells in thought again: They do not know about the Imagining, how it shapes what has happened and what is to come, There are exactly 417 of us together in this spot, Toes!, The Imagining shapes the world to the thoughts of all, it is how form is held and shaped or the future glimpsed.
Varanim wonder if any of these fruits are banging around Netheos - (flash of twisting fleshy Labyrinth tunnels, unity in the underearth) - convolving unisolated thoughtforms statistically tends to non-consciousness as n --> infinity?
Varanim who's Lai?
Zahara .Varanim is fascinating. I must copy these diagrams And she does.
Lucent glares Lai is hatred, bastard, dead, lord of the lily, upstart, butcher of light, Lucent sees his end on Thirteen's end flashing before him, and wishing he had dealt that final blow. What did he tell you? We must cleanse you of his lies.
Imrama .It is exceedingly difficult to negotiate on behalf of my friends, and all the more so in this place.
Zahara feels a flash of unformed anger...or is it jealousy? towards Imrama.
Pramana There's a small murmur in the crowd: Lai is part of us, Why are we fighting with ourselves?, Is that the color known as gold?
Pramana thinks: The part of us that is Lai came to bring us into communion with ourselves regarding the use of the Imagining, such that seventeen more of ourselves might join us in the great work of Imagining that we all undergo.
Varanim (gold: blinding sunshine on water, burnished sky at dawn, riot of wildflowers, dry field at harvest time)
Imrama .I'm sorry, Zahara. I do not intend offense. You may have noticed that our situation leaves our communication rather unvarnished.
Imrama thinks in Pramana's direction: May we seemeetencounter this Imagining?
Lucent rubs his chin. Lai part of you? Think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Pretty sky. No cleansing. No cleansing at all.
Varanim right, harder to lie this way--this place is HILARIOUS