Lucent He left a note under her door. It read, in horrible handwriting but beautiful parchment(and somehow, shining golden ink!): 'Meet me in The White Pomegranate, a public garden east of the Cascade, by the Monument to Menagerie.' the monument was a montage of Mirror, Aliza and Tantamount, a strange and beautiful chimera of them, something Varanim may have seen in passing beforehand.
Varanim Two things are odd about Varanim's arrival: she is only barely late, and doesn't smell of alcohol.
Lucent looks up at her, sat on the side of the statue. "Hello, Varanim." He says without looking her in the eyes, "Sit by the statue." The statue was a perfect square with smaller squares reaching out of every side - the stairs leading to it made a good sit, but as the smaller squares cut it, one would have to be either on the other side to talk to Lucent, or behind him - no eye contact.
Varanim looks at Lucent strangely, and then... sits down where suggested, slouching but facing away from him as the geometry of the seating suggests. "I'm not even going to guess, this time."
Lucent looks away, seeing a hummingbird fly. "Did you like the dresses?"
Varanim "They seemed like... nice dresses," Varanim agrees cautiously, after a long moment in which she is possibly trying to figure out how this relates to her being a terrible person.
Lucent "And the flowers?" He adds, "You know, they would look good on your hair."
Varanim is silent for another long moment. "They used to be my favorite." Another pause. "They were... unexpected."
Lucent "What did you do with them?" A sparrow lands on his finger, a kitten looks at him and paces his way, resting on his lap and nodding off.
Varanim considers and sets aside the response 'before or after I found your pants?', creating another pause before answering. "I put them in what seemed like the appropriate place. Was there... something you wanted, Lucent?"
Lucent "Well, you..." He stops, shiftts, and the kitten bats at his finger, stretching. "... you remember what we were talking about, before... well, you remember I mentioned Crow? Crow-Devours-Flame?"
Varanim "The Abyssal, yes." To anyone who happened to be watching, Varanim looks half-asleep, slouched in the seat with her hat pulled low over her eyes.
Lucent "Well, the Mask sent her with me. One of my watchdogs, his 'cultural emissaries'. You saw me and Imrama working on Ember... I would like to change her loyalties. To... disorient her. I want to put her in charge of my forces in the upcoming war with the Lion... and whatever other enemies also present themselves."
Varanim "That's a fairly large task, but in keeping with your style. And... you want my help, somehow?" She sounds a little confused.
Lucent "Yes. Hmmmm. You are familiar with... Sun and Moon? Fire and Water?" He says the terms, then pauses. 'Not quite that' he seems to mutter... 'what did they call it now?', he stopped, trying to recall... 'ah!' "Good Guard, bad Guard? The interrogation technique?"
Varanim "You want me to help you brace an Abyssal?" There's definite amusement in her voice.
Lucent "Hmmmhmmm. I want you to be the voice of the Underworld! " His customary exclamation points returned! "You do not need to have the abilities I do, you just need to push on the other side. Keep her off-balance. I will be the voice of Creation, but you... be the voice of the Underworld, remind her there's more to even THAT than the Mask! Keep her on her toes."
Lucent stops. Trying to find a way to sell her into that. And he cringes even as he says the words. "Freaked... out."
Varanim "Mm. And the dresses?" Varanim's tone is odd, difficult to read without facial cues.
Lucent "Well. You need to appear as a QUEEN OF THE DAMNED!" He lets out in a theatrical intonation.
Lucent "It is easier to believe in words of authority if people dress the part, simply put."
Varanim This conversation is abnormally full of pauses, from Varanim's end. "It might be funny," she says finally.
Lucent leaps out! "Yes!" Pulling the kitten to his shoulder, and turning around, leaning on the square, to face her, sunlight behind him, a dove on his hair. "Well, this was not so hard!"
Varanim lifts a corner of her hat to look up at him, and winces from the glare. "Be careful about saying things like that before midnight," she says after a moment, and then lets the brim fall to shade her eyes again.
Lucent chuckles, looking at her... a little too long, then averting his gaze stiffly to glare at the sun. The kitten, surprised, begun to bat at his bangs. "So did you... have any questions for me?"
Varanim "None, I suspect, that I'm stupid enough to ask."
Lucent turns around. Light still plays around his form, the kitten looking at her, now. The dove, spreading its wings, perches on his hand as he feeds her a little cookie. "You... were full of questions."
Varanim "I think I'd like to end this one while we're ahead, if only for the novelty." Varanim stands, then is still for a moment. It seems as if she's about to say something, then she just reaches back to scratch the kitten behind its ears, and shuffles off.
Lucent watches as she goes, his mouth opening and closing, trying to reach out to her and then thinking better of it. He tries it a few times, before she has gone too far away, and all he can do is kick some dirt. "... see you."