Spring ::Zahara? I have someone in my stomach whom we both should meet.::
zee ::How did you... ....nevermind.:: She rubs her forehead and leans back in her chair. ::Where shall I meet you?::
Spring ::Perhaps in the dungeon. I suspect having a collar might be handy. Tuned to Abyssals.::
Varanim Varanim, notified in some fashion, shows up as well.
zee ::Oh?:: Her mental tone just got approximately twice as interested as previously. ::I shall meet you there shortly.::
Spring "Hello, Varanim. Welcome to the dungeon."
Lucent ends up there, having been talking with Zahara during the request.
Spring "And Lucent. Well, well. This is quite a social event."
Lucent "Good to see the Circle united, even if here."
zee seals the door shut behind them, and looks expectantly at Thirteen. "Ah yes, I never did give Varanim the grand tour, I suppose."
Spring "Perhaps she ought to be thankful for that."
zee pretends to look insulted
Varanim shrugs. "'Grand' is usually lost on me."
Spring "I thought I would take this opportunity to inform you that the spell you used to cause my rebirth has apparently complex effects when applied to a target who is currently carrying other living creatures inside of them."
Lucent "... you did not kill people and they are... inside you, did you?"
zee "So you have... an Abyssal in there, along with your badgers and other various woodland creatures?"
Spring "When I first met the Exalt we are about to confront, he was Loss of Innocence. I am now not sure what she calls herself. I suspect, however, that she will have something to tell us with regards to the First and Forsaken Lion...and to Kai Buckthorn."
Spring "It was a complex meeting. Varanim knows the details."
Spring "He tried to kill us both. It did not work out well for him."
Lucent "He, she... so Loss is like a Lunar?"
Spring "Do you have the collar ready, Zahara?"
Varanim nods. "Spring has given the essential details."
Lucent "He mentioned it when they first met. Apparently the Lion was drawing his enmities in."
zee glances over at her, then walks to one of several extremely clean, steel cabinets that line the walls. She unlocks it and opens it to reveal a rather wicked assortment of ...tools. Amidst the various pointy objects, are neatly hung several collars with matching bracelets. She selects a soulsteel one and returns to them. "Perhaps it would be best to...bring her? out in the White Room."
Spring "Certainly. He was critically injured when I swallowed him, but I am not sure if she is now."
Spring "Lead the way, if you would."
Lucent walks in, a little nervous. White Rooms always made him uneasy.
Varanim follows as well, some kind of tension behind her usual frown, for any one of a number of reasons.
zee nods and does so, palming the door to the White Room open, and gesturing politely for all to enter. Rannath - well, Fiercey - is still there, chained to a bloodstained table in the center of the room, but she ignores him.
Spring nods politely to Rannath, then drops to his knees and vomits forth the person who was once Loss of Innocence.
Innocence What emerges is not, in any way, the being Spring once knew as Loss of Innocence. (...)
zee closes the door just as he vomits up the new girl, and with it comes the absolute cessation of all essence flow within the room.
Innocence Instead, what emerges is a woman, rolled up into a ball as she is expelled from Spring's cavernous stomach; and as she stretches out, tentatively, uncertainly, what emerges from that ball is a vision of beauty.... (...)
Innocence Pale skin, creamy and smooth, covering supple curves and a lithe frame; long hair, platinum blonde, with single streaks of pale green and purplish black running down either side; a beauteous face that brings with it an almost unimaginable joy, just to look upon it, petite and young, like that of someone who has yet to look upon the cruel world, even once....
Innocence And embossed on her forehead, the unmistakable sign of a caste mark -- but utterly unlike that which one might expect, for its outline is filled in with the purest snow-white.
Varanim closes her eyes briefly, then reopens them to examine the former Loss of Innocence in dispassionate detail.
Spring "Something went wrong."
zee "You must be... Innocence."
Lucent "That is not an Abyssal, that is..." He blinks.
Lucent "... why does she look like you?" He regards Zahara and Varanim.
Spring "Lucent, do you know what that caste mark signifies?"
Innocence The woman does indeed bear a level of resemblance to Varanim and Zahara, though the depth of her unusual features is yet deeper than that -- it is almost as if she has drawn on a thousand beauties to form her own face. (...)
zee blinks at Lucent. "Don't ask ME. I'm not the one who's met her before!"
Innocence Lying on the floor, as Zahara leans over her, she begins to blink, very slowly and quietly, and then brings one arm up to shade her eyes, as if the light is too much for them.
Varanim "At this point, you couldn't pay me enough to guess," Varanim says to Lucent, in a voice absolutely void of emotion.
Spring frowns, running through the enormous library in his mind and belly, trying to correlate factors to identify who the caste mark possessed by the former Abyssal might relate to.
Lucent looks at her, smiling bright. Trying to calm her, to be the most affectionate and harmless as he can appear, to make it seem safe... even with a person with spider eyes close to him. A soothing presence, so much that she cannot even notice how intently he thought of her caste mark...
zee contemplates the collar in her hand for a moment, then reaches down and fastens it on her anyway. Can't hurt.
Spring "Please excuse us for disturbing you. We must speak with you about the First and Forsaken Lion."
Lucent gives Zahara a look of slight reprimand. Slight.
Innocence Spring runs quickly in his mind through the options available, the heavenly bodies (both real and imaginary), the symbology of a thousand of Creation's peoples... and comes up blank. Something is just very wrong here: it looks almost exactly like a Solar -- or Abyssal -- castemark, drained entirely of its color.
Innocence The girl looks at Zahara, leaning over her, with a bit of concern. "I..." she says, "I..." She trails off, and though Lucent's calming presence keeps her from her initial impulse to panic, she nonetheless looks wary and confused.
Varanim "What do you remember?" Varanim's voice is still almost inflectionless, but she doesn't have a hostile posture as she looks at the girl.
zee lifts the girl up and sets her in the comfortable chair that is currently sitting against the wall.
Innocence She looks at the group of people surrounding her with a certain amount of concern. "I remember... fire," she says. "Pain." She shudders. "Hate and darkness."
Lucent "I am Lucent." He smiles. "This is Zahara. She is nice. Varanim. And Spring." His hand lands on her shoulder. "Do not worry. There is only light here, Innocence."
Spring frowns, but does not debate the point.
Innocence Innocence does not appear desperately afraid, but her countenance is definitely uncertain, "The Lion," she says suddenly. "The Lion."
zee "For the moment," she mutters to herself, looking over the woman.
Varanim "The Lion," Varanim repeats helpfully, squatting down next to Innocence to look up at her face.
Spring "You remember him, do you not?"
Lucent "If she does, let her speak in her own time." He picks her hand and squeezes. "She will only talk if she wants to." He says, and yet... his voice is an encouragement for her to.
Innocence There is something very odd about the woman, even through Essence sight. She is definitely an Exalt, unquestionably, but the essence flowing through her veins...? "I do," she says, looking at Spring. "I remember him."
Spring gazes at her steadily, the violet pupils in his eyes locking into hers. "Tell us about him. Please. And tell us about the plan that he put into motion, that led to the person you were meeting the person I was."
Spring considers this for a moment, then glances at Varanim before returning his eyes to the woman.
Varanim Varanim's eyes flicker to meet Spring's for a moment--which is a strange process, admittedly--before looking back to Innocence.
Lucent "You can talk." Lucent nods. "We will protect you from him."
Spring "That, at least, is certain."
Innocence Innocence looks at Spring uncertainly. "He... wants control," she says. "He knows who opposes him, and he learns how to snare them." She shudders. "He set lures on the river, so the fish would bite."
Spring "What do you know of Kai Buckthorn?"
Innocence Innocence's eyes race for a moment, as she thinks about Spring's question. (...)
Innocence Finally, she sees something, and her eyes open wide. "She..." she says, in astonishment. "She has gone underground."
Spring "Please, explain."
Innocence "She is... up to something," she says. "The Lion wants to know where she is, more than anything. He has set bait, laid traps..." She shudders again, and the connection to what she had engaged in as Loss is clear. "She did not take them. But... the evidence that she walks in the world below still comes."
Lucent "... the trap you set for them, the lure on the river, was for Kai?"
Innocence nods shakily, terror starting to get the better of her once again.
Lucent smiles to Spring. "She is free. And going to visit the Dead Ones, I bet."
Spring exhales. "Good."
Spring "Now...what are you?"