Adagio has a big jug of Kashaen Ale on his hand, kept in jewels that make the taste all that much better! "We gotta get to the Lapis Court! You'll sweat ya heart out, but the drinks... the girls... the smokes! Oh, innocence, oh, love, it's just a RUSH!"
zahara "Hmmm an excellent plan, my friend!" After some random meandering, she realizes that the Wyld is really freaking far away, and takes a detour - with some 'convincing' of a local fae noble - through the nearest wyld zone, hopefully to the Lapis Court!
The ship follows a circuitous route laid out through the waypoints and passageways, bypassing the normal geography of Creation altogether and sliding straightforwardly into the deeper Wyld zones. (...)
The Solars watch as the geography outside the ship shifts and bends, trees transforming into rubber boots, the sky splitting into hundreds of tiny raspberries, rocks glowing with phosphorescent lizard-mushrooms, as they move beyond the realm in which the world is defined.
Adagio "I HEARD some o' my old pals were here, ya see. I remember back when we didn't have courts or anything like this. But if my pals are the same as they used t'be..." He hands her a long pipe where he had been burning some rasp spider. "... then that court's a new version of the best."
zahara "Oh are we partying with them now? I thought we were going to kill them! Mmmm either way, it will be exciting." She laughs.
Adagio "Which do ya want first? Party over the dead is great! Especially with the Wyldspawn, they never hold grudges, y'see." Those golden pools of his' were now very... red. Very red.
zahara "Mmm let's party first, kill em, and then party some more."
Adagio slides the wheel and gives the almost-empty bottle to Zahara. "Great plan!"
Adagio "But we have a problem."
Adagio "A BIG problem."
zahara chugs the rest and wipes her mouth. "What kind of BIG problem, Adagi-agi-o?"
Adagio handles her the bong. "Y'are NOT breathing in right!"
zahara lets go of the controls to take it from him, and the ship drops sharply, as she takes a toke, choking on the smoke as she laughs.
Adagio holds the controls. Poorly. Almost crashing into a mountain, then snorting with laughter "Well, ok, NOW we're alright."
zahara "Who cares if we crash? We'll live, we're fuckin' SOLARS"
Adagio grins, letting go of the wheel and falling on a plush chair he'd relocated nearby! "Where d'ya usually go for this?"
Mountains shaped like towering minarets rise suddenly up from the ground below, crowding the sky and making flight difficult at best.
zahara "East, East is where he was from. Mmmm harder to fly through trees though. My ship is broken, Adagio." She jerks the wheel upwards and banks right to avoid the sudden mountains. "Mountains hard too."
Adagio "I think it's right ahead! Just... crashland!" He hugs her from behind, ready to protect her body on the inevitable big crashing fall!
zahara "Not this one, the other one." She pouts, and aims the ship towards the nearest flat looking place.
Nothing is particularly flat here, but zahara eventually manasges to nestle the ship -- with a rather intense ka-CHUNK -- into a reasonably suitable crag.
Adagio picks up the Mars orb, holds it between his hands like a ball and THROWS it through the nearest window, jumping out of the ship from it, and shouting out! "HELLLLOOOOOOOOOOO!"
zahara slaps the dashboard control appreciatively, "Not bad, not bad." She refills the jug and climbs through the broken window. "You broke THIS ship now! Damn ships!"
Adagio "Y'can just make a new one! Out, dunno... out of bees?"
The spot they have landed in appears to be a singular rock amongst a great, vast desert made of blue and gold dust, where lapis lazuli dunes blow at rapid speed in an oddly brisk wind. (...)
zahara She laughs, an inspired look in her eyes. "Yes... yes, I think I shall."
Out in the distance, something that shimmers like a mirage -- but looks almost like a group of people clad in heavy black headdresses and flowing silver robes -- is moving rapidly towards the two Solars.
zahara "ooh, look. Company."
zahara draws her daiklave, staggering a little at the weight and planting it tip first in what passes for the ground.
Adagio steps in front of them and spreads his arms... almost falling back as he does so. "HELLO! We're looking for a party!"
The group draw nearer, close enough that the yellowish-white shimmer of their eyes becomes visible in between their head wrappings. The foremost amongst them, a little more lithe than the others, walks up closer, and her veil falls away, revealing a face of harsh but beauteous deep blue. "Who dares trespass in the thought-space of the Lapis Court?"
zahara "We do, of course." She grins
The woman steps up right into Zahara's face, and a thin and elegant hand carrying an equally thin and elegant curved blade, woven out of airy, transparent purple gossamer, comes up between the two of them. "That is not an answer we are inclined to take."
Adagio taps his forehead! "Caste brand! Caste... tattoo! SHINY!"
zahara blows smoke in the faerie's face, giggling. "Cower in fear, Lapis Faerie, for you have now met the fearsome Zahara Zhan, the Dreambreaker!" She throws her free arm wide, still leaning heavily upon her sword. "I come in peace! for parties! Parties are diplomatic right?"
Adagio "PANTIES AREN'T... oh, you said parties."
Adagio "Parties are, yeah."
zahara "Maybe panties later, you never know."
Selene rolls her eyes and resheathes her blade. "You are embarrassments to your kind and shames to your homeland," she says, before turning around and making some sort of expressive gesture that sets her companions scurrying. (...)
Selene When she turns back, however, she is grinning slightly, and says "Luckily for you, shame is a popular dish within the Lapis Court."
zahara laughs, "Shame, rage, pain. You will feast tonight."
Adagio "We're also incredibly pretty, unfatomably power, and I kill people with Celestial Bodies!" She pokes her blade curiously, as if it appeared so TINY. "Do y'kill people with Celestial Bodies?"
Selene "No," she replies curtly.
zahara grabs Adagio by the shoulder, leaning into his ear. "I don't think she likes you."
Adagio grins. "Night's still young!"
Selene "You are coming to visit our Court for some nefarious purpose of your own devising, I take it?" she says to Zahara, momentarily ignoring Adagio again.
Adagio laughs. Loud. Very loud.
zahara "Well I was initially just going to go for some random genocide, but my friend here," she leans on him again, "Said you guys like to party."
Adagio "Don't worry, don't worry!" He pats her back, "They can ALWAYS prove me wrong!"
Selene "If you enjoy the sort of party that sometimes you don't wake up from," she says, and as if on cue, a massive, sprawling palace seems to nigh-instantaneously build itself out of the very blue sand itself, to tower over the three assembled, its front door less than ten feet away.
zahara "That's my favorite only when the other people don't wake up."
zahara applauds for the castle and heads for the door
Adagio goes after see, the orbs of the Coronal following... all but one. The Venus orb takes a moment waching Selene before hitting her back, giving her a moment of unadultered bliss. "There, now she'll be less uptight!"
Selene Without turning around, Selene grabs Venus around her neck and throttles with her long -- but surprisingly strong -- fingers. "Behave yourself, please."
Selene Nonetheless, the faerie leads the Solars inside the castle, where fae beings of all description cavort and mingle. (...)
Selene On one side, a pair of angry-looking nobles perform some sort of ritualized, tied-arm duel; over in another corner, a handsome noble within a painting beckons a sweet, innocent looking girl to join him within; while elsewhere, a group of many faeries, dressed in matching peasant clothes, serenade every passerby whether they want to hear it or not.
zahara smiles, "Fantastic. Ah... and what was your name, my gracious host?"
Selene "Selene," she says.
Adagio "My other half!" He grins, "Unfortunately, I cannot be Helios tonight."
zahara "Lovely name," she says, striding in past her and looking over her options. Saving the girl would be far too cliche, so she wanders over for a serenade.
Adagio picks Zahara's hand and begins a dance! "Play something livelier!" He asks of them, as he begins to show the brightest, most incredible dance that those fae may have ever seen in their lives! Look, there comes a dragon of shadows! But they dance away, and as his hand touches hers' a bell rings that breaks the dragon, as Adagio spins the Empress over his shards!
zahara lets herself become swept up in the dance, following Adagio's lead recklessly. As she spins over the shards, she flicks her wrist, sending her blue slab of a sword into the ground amidst them - it was in the way.
Selene The band does not appear to be interested in Adagio's commands; they continue to play their tune as before, while the singer barefoot dances his way awkwardly past each passerby who journeys near them -- but nonetheless, the song is somehow perfect for the dance.
Adagio pulls Zahara closer and kicks off the sword from the ground, dancing around and then letting her go, holding to her hand as she spins as far away from him as possible... and her free hand is just there to catch the falling sword! Elsewhere, his orbs - clearly not Incarna anymore but musicians, not a mere cosmetic change but some change to their very being, go tickle the tempted girl.
zahara 's fingers close around the sword, and she spins back into his arms, leaning back over them so far she is almost bent in half, gazing at the faeries upside-down. She laughs again, though there passes a flicker in her eyes, danger, almost daring someone to make a move, then she is upright again.
Adagio grins, pulling back, and through visions of an ever-expanding Creation, breaking gods and a burning lily he dances with Zahara almost to the next room... and then stops, finishing the dance and letting go!
zahara stumbles to a halt, panting. "That was fun!"
zahara heads for the painting, "This looks tempting."
Adagio "Hoppin' into? Mind the oil."
zahara salutes Adagio and climbs into the painting
Selene As Adagio wanders off to enjoy the fruits of the party, Zahara wanders over to the painting. She sees that the noble who originally lured the girl into the painting has been jumped by two others, and now he and the girl seem to be fleeing off to parts unknown with their assailants in hot pursuit.
Selene Climbing in, she finds herself temporarily alone -- now that the others have run off, at least -- in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
zahara dashes after them, arms spread and the trailing sleeves of her dress fluttering like wings. She doesn't particularly care that she can no longer see them after a bit.
Selene The chase itself is quite enjoyable, and Zahara finds the movement light and easy. When she halts, she finds herself in another part of the party altogether, this time standing on a large, green hillside, where yet more partygoers mingle and chat while crimson soap bubbles float by from a fountain on one side.
zahara touches one of the bubbles with a long nail, moving forward to sit on the edge of the fountain and listen to the chatter
The chatter is on a thousand topics -- the power of love, the intoxicating joy of obsession, and the certainty of faith -- and though none stand out particularly, the conversation is pleasant and enjoyable, and Zahara feels herself swept away by it for a while, until after a while, a voice interrupts her reverie: "....Zahara?"
zahara looks up, seeking the sound of the voice
A beautiful faerie stands over Zahara with an inquisitive look on his face. (...)
His skin is like polished white marble, and his face boyish and innocent, with just a trace of mischief; his hair is like fine black silk , wrapped in a multitude of brilliantly-colored scarves and hung down in differently-lengthed braids; (...)
his clothes are loose and flowing, but elegant, and they catch the wind at a pleasant angle, while his golden belt-silk flaps jauntily. He smiles as Zahara looks up at him. "I've waited so long to meet you!"
zahara stands up, "I am Zahara." She puts a hand on the fountain to steady herself. "And you are?"
Riordan "Riordan of the Golden Branch," he says, and bows deeply, with deep and visibly non-sarcastic respect.
zahara again uses her sword as a rather sharp cane, and steadies herself as she returns the bow. "A pleasure, I'm sure." She grins, brushing her hair out of her eyes where it had fallen as she bowed, already growing out since she'd cut it. "Do I live up to your expectations?"
Riordan "You certainly cut a more stunning figure than I had believed possible," he says.
zahara "You do know how to flatter a lady, Riordan of the Golden Branch." She gestures off to the side, "Shall we chat somewhere a bit more quiet?"
Riordan grins slightly at the corner of his mouth and says "After you, milady."
zahara runs a little way down the hill, feeling the world around her, so chaotic, just begging to be molded by her. Her fingers twitch, and she closes her eyes, gaining her bearings back.
Riordan follows her down the hill, bounding gently down the slope.
zahara looks up as Riordan approaches, and she smiles at him. "You have heard my tale, I take it? I wonder from whom."
Riordan gasps in not-entirely-mock surprise. "You speak as if your tale is one that one must search far and wide to find a bard who sings it, Empress."
zahara chuckles, "Ah, well it is true. I am rather famous. Did you know Tevezst?" She considers that may not be the best opening question, but it's too late now.
Riordan shakes his head. "That bastard."
zahara looks at him sideways, "What is it that you feed on, Riordan?"
Riordan grins that slightly mischievous grin again.
zahara reaches up and touches his lips, laughing. "So coy, Rio?"
Riordan steps from the hill onto the beach that -- apparently -- stretches out at its foot, and does a little imprompteau jig on the sand dunes. "I am not at all like Tevezst, I can tell you that much," he says. From within his coat, he produces a wineskin, decorated with aquamarine jewels, and offers it to Zahara. "Drink? You would know if I sought to trick you, of course."
zahara takes the wineskin, "I am starting to get awfully sober, my friend. Thank you for rectifying the situation!" She sits down in the sand, smoothing an area and building a miniaturized version of the Bureau of Flowering Plants, from Yu Shan, in between sips.
Riordan The wine is cool and sweet, and oddly familiar -- there is an underlying energy to it, a flow of Essence. (...)
Riordan looks over at Zahara's tiny construct with great interest. "Zahara the builder. Zahara the grand empress," he says, rolling the words around on his tongue. "You are quite the character," he says.
zahara "Boreal?" She peers into the wineskin with one eye. "Yes, but I am tired of being the Empress for today. Tell me about yourself, Riordan. What grand stories have you created?"
Riordan "I am but a wee bairn," he says, looking a little bashful. "I built a beautiful city that washed away with the tides," he says, looking mournfully at Zahara's castle. "I loved a great woman and was betrayed; then I loved an evil woman, and betrayed her. And I hid a nation from the gaze of the sun, for a day." He bows his head a little, as if reflexively proud of himself for his scant accomplishments.
zahara "Mmm love. The foundation for so many stories. So many betrayals."
Riordan nods, sadly. "It is true! I think I am done with love, for now."
Colapso "Love's GREAT!" Comes Adagio, three girls in tow, each with hair and skin of a different, scandalous hue. "Just don't be like that stupid Copper Boy and don't actually MEAN any of it."
zahara "You are a wise man." She lays back on the sand, her arms crossed behind her head. "Ah, lu... Adagio."
Riordan "Oh, Adagio," the girls croon in unison, and titter.
Riordan "Did you see his dancing?," says the first to Riordan. "He was amazing," says the second. "Too bad about the trollop he was dancing with," grouses the third.
Riordan Zahara, of course, sees the secret envy in the faerie's eyes.
zahara laughs, "A shame about her, indeed."
Adagio pecks one of them, "Well, I guess I could still have time to dance with ONE other today..." He pecks one of them, honestly not even caring which, before smiling to Zahara's 'friend', "Not gonna intro us, Zee? What, 'fraid I might be BAD company?"
zahara "Oh, I know you're bad, Adagio," she props herself up on one elbow, then sweeps her arm towards the faerie. "Riordan of the Golden Branch, meet Adagio of something or other."
Riordan bows politely. "A pleasure to meet you," he says with a grin, and Adagio's three ladies titter again.
Adagio "It's not important, anyway." He shakes the Faerie's hand, "I hope you're not trying to eat her. You should've seen the last guy who tried." He stops and makes a mischievous face, "... on the other hand, go ahead, it'd be funny."
zahara chuckles, "I miss having him in the White Room," a wistful note enters her voice.
Riordan A cloud passes over Riordan's face for a moment at Adagio's comment, but he lets it pass after a moment and turns back to Zahara. "I... saw your wondrous dance as you entered, but... this is not your consort, I do... not recognize his name," he says.
zahara "No, he is not Cerin. He is a friend of mine, I'm sure his fame will spread soon enough."
Adagio "Ask Mistress Neshi about me. She has STORIES to tell..." His wicked band begun to chant something about whips of light and tongues of fire.