Lucent waits Zahara in the caves beneath the Cascade, the water lapping at the earth around him.
zahara wanders down into the caves below, looking for Lucent. "Ah, there you are."
Lucent "Yes. I always came here to think. The calmest place on all of the Cascade, you know." He crouches, touching the water. "Sometimes, it is a good thing to know where the roots of all that basks in the Sun lies. Do you remember, the last time you found me here?"
zahara kneels on the edge of the water next to him. "How could I forget?"
Lucent "Seems like an eternity now. Before the Eclipse, before I could say the truth..."
zahara "It has been that... an eternity and more."
Lucent "Oh yes." He sighs, thinking... "Simpler times, as well. When it was just us. Now, we are generals of all Creation... it is a strange thing. Especially being so alone, just us. So many Dragons and Lunars shared our burden in the Golden Age, you know."
zahara "I wish I did know. " She shifts and dangles her feet into the dark waters.
Lucent "You could try to remember." He does the same, letting his feet soak in the water. "There are some techniques for it. Meditations that would open your mind to your past self... you could see more accurately what Talmuda went through, and his former lives. Although I am told that remembering life as a different gender is... disconcerting."
zahara stares into the water, contemplating that, then hakes her head. "I remember some. I'm not sure that remembering the rest will provide any peace of mind."
Lucent grimaces, realising that looking at Cerin and seeing her killer... would not help. "I intend to talk with Nesula. I have something in mind for the children's Circle to do... if you approve of it. We have been extremely busy, with even more goals in front of us... and there is one important goal that will consume more time than we currently have; I want to delegate that to the children."
zahara "Oh?" She looks over at him curiously, "What is that?"
Lucent "You heard about the vision Ember had of the Sun, right? Where he revealed to Ember the location of all Solars that he could perceive, including the Abyssal Exalted and, apparently, the Lily?"
zahara "Hmmm, yes."
Lucent "There was a vision of Solars, true Solars, in the North. We know of none there. We should investigate this... but we have no time to search in such a wide area. And if those Solars are villains, the scouts need to be of equivalent power to even manage to get away and relay that to us. Hence..."
zahara leans back on her hands, thoughtfully. The water splashes about her feet. "I see. Hmm yes, if they are amenable they would probably appreciate the chance to go out and do something important. Nothing worse than being corralled up with nothing to appease your burning desire to prove yourself. Oh," she adds. "Don't call them children, I think they may take exception to that."
Lucent laughs! "Oh, I am sure. Although I might..." He grins, then gets up and begins taking the first layers of his clothing off, for apparently no reason, "It might make them work harder, to prove me wrong." He winks
zahara raises a brow at his sudden undressing, "Going for a dip?"
Lucent smiles, letting a golden shirt fall over the white jacket. "Yes! You coming?"
zahara considers this, from a few angles before shrugging and stepping out of her dress, leaving it folded neatly on the floor next to Lucent's growing sloppy pile. "I'm fairly certain that all the man-eating sorts have cleared out since the River God left." She stretches a little, the light catching on the extensive golden swirls that cover her body and the two pieces that stay on - the gold-leaf collar, and the chastity belt.
Lucent controls the Coronal, the first piece that had fallen to the floor, to form a stair for them. Serenity, Battles and finally Journey, three steps! He had undressed down to his underwear, perfect bronze body mostly visible to the world... leaving only Alveua's amulet on, shining gold and onyx over his chest.
Lucent Underwear of most golden variety, leaving littl to the imagination. "Ladies first!"
zahara steps gracefully down the thoughtful stairway into the rather murky depths of the underground river, slipping underwater completely
Lucent has the stair RISE... so it is a fair degree above it! He runs cheerfully up, jumping down from the journeys symbol and falling in the water close to Zahara, almost without a splash! "Ooh! So cold."
zahara laughs, ducking away from him. "Showoff!"
Lucent rises, laughing! "So, with the judges indecisive, how does the Empress of the Sunlands rate my jump?" He laughs... and then notices something golden slipping away, catching the Gold-and-Onyx collar before it strayed too far with a hint of desperation.
zahara "Oh," she says loftily, "It was only about an 8. I didn't see a triple flip in there..." She watches his reaction with concern, and then reaches over to him, "Here, give it to me for a second."
Lucent pulls back for a moment, a little defensive... then he softens, giving it to her tentatively. "Careful there, please..."
zahara "Thank you," she says quietly, then holds the pendant up to spin in the light. "Love is a precious thing." She runs her fingers along the chain, mending it; strengthening it. "Come here." But without waiting for him to come, she swims around behind him, lifts the chain around his neck, and fastens it securely.
Lucent "Yes." He nods. "Very precious. Even when lost... and found." He touches his pendant, an earnest, satisfied smile upon his lips. "Zahara... thank you." He turns around, so she can see it over his shoulder, "You... used to be wary of it. Not anymore?"
zahara "Things change," she says simply. "I'm not entirely sure I know why myself."
Lucent swims around, so he can look at her face. Around them, light from the river shines on his face, on hers', on the walls to form strange patterns. Lucent makes a decision, after taking a deep breath. "Would you let her into you? If only for a short time?"
zahara gets a complicated expression on her face that could perhaps be approximated by the phrase 'wait, WHAT?'
Lucent laughs! "Nothing like THAT!" He giggles, "See, I need her to craft something. I think she can still do that if she has a suitable medium... and you ARE the best artisan in the whole wide world!" He nods. "... and also, you are well-warded to stop misunderstandings."
zahara swims backwards a short way, and studies his face, to see if he's serious. Deciding that he is, indeed serious, she mulls the possibility over in her head. Dangerous? Yes. Possibility of losing her soul? Yes. Ironic? Also Yes. She laughs, a harsh edge to it and her eyes glitter. "I'll do it."
Lucent smiles wide! "Perfect!" He calls out, swimming about happilly! "Race you to the other side?"
zahara Without bothering to answer first, she ducks under the water, pushing off the bottom of the river for momentum, and kicks off for the other side
Lucent spreads his arms to either side to swim, moving up and down like a wave towards the other side... and getting there at the same time as Zahara does! A grin, a flashing dare, and then he kicks the cave's walls to begin a race BACK!
zahara wasn't expecting the way back, but dives after him gamely after a spluttered shout of indignation. "Jerk!"
Lucent begins to laugh, losing a little momentum that gets them on the same footing again, as they reach the Cascade's margin, tied again and laughing! "Wow... haha... I never realised you are so FIT, Empress!"
zahara gives him a good splash, "There's a lot you don't know about me, mister!"
Lucent splashes back! "Hahaha! Me? No, I know EVERYTHING!"
Varanim ambles in, whistling and starting to reach into her bag for something... and then stops. She blinks.
Varanim "Well, isn't that something."
zahara is startled by Varanim mid-splash, turning what was a rather beautiful sculped wave of precision into a sloppy skittering of her hand across the water.
zahara "Well," she recovers, "Did you know SHE was going to show up?"
Lucent stops laughing... and looks up at Varanim, startled! "Had NO idea. You did not call her?"
zahara shrugs, treading water and tips her head to one side, "Nope. But hello Varanim, did you come down for a swim?"
Varanim After a long appraising glance, Varanim smirks and says "Carry on!" Then she turns on her heel and wanders off in search of safer sunless caverns.
Lucent gets up from the water to a nearby rock, glistening wet and shining the way he could never manage not to... "Hey, wait! Come back! It IS fun!"
Varanim looks back, possibly to fire off a smart answer. She catches Lucent's exit and stumbles a bit, throws up her hands, and keeps walking.
Lucent frowns as she vanishes, slumping on the rock. "What is it with HER?"
zahara takes the opportunity to admire the beacon of the sun's truth, pulling herself partway out of the water to lean on her elbows speculatively. "Hmmm. That's an excellent question."
Lucent "She is always so angry at me. And never listens to a word I say. And when I try to make things lighter, like this... well, you saw it. She just runs away." He sighs deeply. "It's like she is only comfortable when we fight."
zahara "Ah, well, you do have that whole 'descent into evil' thing we spoke of before," she says distractedly. "Sometimes it takes more trust to show happiness than anything else."
Lucent "Yes, but... I want to prevent that. To save her!" He speaks with conviction, watching Zahara now. There is a moment of lounging as he admires her tattoos, as the right way of things - golden.
zahara flicks her wet hair over her shoulders, the tips darkened with the weight of the water. "You can't make her mistakes for her, Luc. You can't save someone who's not walking down the wrong path. Don't make it a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Lucent "But it is Necromancy. It IS evil." He lets his feet touch the water again, sliding down bit by bit. "And you saw how she did everything that... that Doctor did? He cut her arm and she was still a puppy for him!"
zahara "Is it? Is it not just another tool to use in our fight? She has not called up armies of ghosts or undead. It draws from a different source, yes, but perhaps she will use Necromancy in the way of Pluto." She grimaces and adds, "That jerk." Then she turns around against the side so she's propped up on her elbows, facing across the river, letting the waters flow over her. "And speaking of jerks, the Doctor may be an Abyssal, but t
zahara "And speaking of jerks, the Doctor may be an Abyssal, but the arm he cut off and replaced with a perfectly functional - if creepy - one, was going to kill her if it had stayed attached."
Lucent "It... was?" The Zenith looks positively shocked. Horrified, even. "You mean he... saved her?"
Lucent "That an... Abyssal did?"
zahara "Life works in mysterious ways." She smiles, possibly more than she should be.
Lucent slids down the rock and into the water, vanishing, as if he had just locked himself up somewhere to consider that. The surface above the point he disappeared on bubbles.
zahara waits to see if he comes up, curious.
Lucent splashes up, still looking... disjointed. "I. Um." a finger rises from the water to say something, then lowers. "Something is not RIGHT, here. So. Pluto! Necromancy. Um. You know. Ah." He quiets.
zahara "Right." She smiles again, and this time it is a little sympathetic. "Ah, I think it's time for a drink around the fire."
Lucent looks more than happy to speak of something else! "Well, we have no drinks. And no fire!"
zahara pulls herself out of the water and reaches out a hand for Lucent. "Don't worry, I can fix that."
Lucent takes a moment to admire the light playing on her tattoos, then smiles and lets her help him up, impressed again with how strong she is. "Ooh? The great goddess, giving poor humanity the mighty gift of fire?"
zahara grins, a wicked glint in her eye as she notes where his eyes stray. "Indeed, for cannot only a goddess create something out of nothing?" She demonstrates, carving a series of strong, dry pieces of wood from the air and laying them neatly in a pattern that mirrors one of the Cascade's shifting patterns, "And cannot only a goddess call upon fire?" (...)
zahara She lays her hands upon the structure she created, concentrating on her connection with the manse. The Essence runs through her body, the tattoos glittering with their own light, and she focuses the energy onto a pinpoint in the wood. She does not command the element itself, but the sheer amount of Essence is enough to cause the wood to burst into gold-orange flames.
Lucent "Beautiful..." he whispers, at that sight, smiling in wonder and sitting by the fire. "You know, I never realised that Cerin really IS the one with the key." He grins at her chastity belt, so evidenced by being the opaque part in all the lights around her form.
zahara She presses her fingers into the wall, passing through it as if it were liquid, and pulls a chunk of it out, which she quickly fashions into two goblets, offering them to Lucent. She chuckles at his comment, then replies, "Oh yes. Him and no other." Though one cannot help but admire. She follows the thought with a liquid cascade of sunlit ale which glows softly in the stone goblets.
Lucent And admire he did, as well, picking the goblet and taking a drink. "Hmmmm. They taste even sweeter as Lucent. Or maybe it is because cannabis dulled the taste last time." He chuckles. "I like the hair, as well. A gift from Riordan?"
zahara "Yes, blonde seemed terribly dull. Riordan is quite sweet for a soul-devouring monster from beyond the edges of the world, really."
Lucent "It fits you." He lets the goblet rest at his side, soaking in the warmth of the flame. "They are like Nibbles, in a sense. Tigers who will devour you... and have to devour other beings to live... but at the same time, beautiful creatures, who can give much wonder to the world."
zahara curls her legs beneath her, sitting across from him and sipping her ale thoughtfully as she stares into the flickering light. "Like tigers. Like fire. Like us."
Lucent "Like us." He sighs. "Why must she make everything so difficult, Zee?"
zahara half-smiles. "She is a woman."