Lucent knocks on Cerin's room, only a day after seeing the Mask of Summers
Kraken "Come in, Lucent," comes Cerin's voice from the other side of the door.
Lucent walks inside. Cerin can notice his eyes have small crimson strains in them, showing he had been crying, despite his rosary wiping most physical evidence away. His customary smile is not there, although he is not outwardly sad either. A pleasant half-smile shows, but without the cheerfulness. "I hope I am not interrupting anything?"
Cerin has evidently been writing, a sheet of paper set aside for the ink to dry. "Not at all, Lucent. Please, sit. Tea?"
Lucent nods, sitting down. "Please. I need to relax. What are you writing?"
Cerin "Just a small piece on the Swords of Truth. More notes than anything else, at present." He gets down a fine teaset, feeding a mote to the pot so that the water will boil.
Lucent "Hmmmm." He listens, deep in thought. "Say, did Zahara tell you about our walk in the Wyld?"
Cerin "She has mentioned a little of it, yes. You were apparently Adagio there."
Lucent "I was. I was testing with different personalities. I thought the time since the Eclipse has already made you all feel like I am not going to betray you, if I do so." He nods. "I am intending to use a similar method to infiltrate the First and Forsaken Lion's holds."
Cerin "An ambitious plan," he says, as he very carefully pours Lucent a cup of tea.
Cerin "What is it that you hope to acheive by doing so?"
Lucent "Discover his capabilities. Find out how far he is with Abadis, and pehaps other such projects. We will need to march into war with him soon enough... we need to know what we are going to be facing. And Exalted of our stature, the Lion and Abyssals, make that pehaps the one place where you might be seen. Therefore..."
Cerin He nods, and pours himself a cup of tea. "And if you are see for what you are?"
Lucent "I managed to evade the Wolf." He smiles to Cerin, for the first time there; it is a good-natured one, proud. "So I know I will be able to do so, at least for a little while. But if they find me... I will need you to rescue me before they rip my soul open and take our secrets instead."
Cerin nods "That is true," he sips his tea. "Yes, I suppose I would have to."
Lucent "I will use the ring to speak with the Sunlands on an interval. I will have to find out what is a good interval after I infiltrate them, however. If I do not send a message..." He stops, sipping the tea, closing his eyes, "... well, then, my life is in your hands."
Cerin "How will you manage that if you are in Netheos? The rings do not work across planes."
Lucent "Hmmm, that is part of why I need to find good times. Maybe if they have a Shadowland nearby, or we ought to have... it would cerainly make Varanim's work..." He begins to shake, shaking the cup, setting it down.
Cerin "Calm yourself, Lucent," he says. "What has upset you about Varanim today?"
Lucent looks into the tea. "Nothing. That is what she said. It is nothing, because it never was. It is a beautiful thing you have with Zahara, to love and be loved in return. You should always cherish it." Is the only answer he can give.
Cerin allows himself a smile at Zahara. "Nothing? Perhaps that would be due to the others she apparently shares you with."
Lucent "... oh. I should have known you would have known... or heard..." He closes his eyes. "News travel fast. But she is not sharing me. She finished things. I am trying not to think of her, hence..."
Cerin "Hence you bring home women with green hair, and darker skin."
Lucent tries to say something to deny it, but just stops, closing his eyes and bringing one hand to his face. After a moment of silence, he adds, "If Zahara is worried about the servants, I can stay away from them."
Cerin "That is not the point here, I feel."
Lucent "And what IS it?"
Cerin "Women with green hair and dark skin, it would appear."
Lucent "Who feel NOTHING. Who just want to be fucked by the Zenith of the Sunlands. I figured I would let them."
Cerin "And of course, you feel nothing in return."
Lucent "Of course not. But I am nice to them. I will not just tell them that it was nothing, to lead them on then crush everything. I let them know, I let them understand... Zahara will have no case to worry about depressed servants. They will just be delighted for a long time by the memories."
Cerin "It was not the servents I was refering too."
Lucent "SHE BROKE MY HEART."
Cerin "Doing nothing will not fix it."
Lucent "I am doing something. Trying to bury it. Trying to FORGET."
Cerin "You are trying to replace the memory of a Solar with mere mortals. The Sunlands are not that large."
Lucent "She is a poor man's Solar, attempting to pass herself as a mortal."
Cerin "Which is why you try so hard to forget her."
Lucent grits his teeth "My heart is stupid."
Cerin "Or perhaps it is the wisest part of you."
Lucent smiles. "You think I should try again?"
Cerin "Perhaps. Or perhaps you should not, but be honest with yourself before you decide."
Lucent "I will... think about it." He nods. "Nevertheless, did Zahara tell you how we walked into a painting?"
Cerin "She did, yes."
Lucent "That got me an... idea." He wipes his tear-filled eyes out, and takes a... small lead box from within his robe. It was Lost Mirage, his crystalline armor, under the robes as usual. He hands it to Cerin: hermetically closed, impossible to open. A challenge for him.
Lucent "I was saving it for when I was able to create a friendship between us." He smiles, touching it, and looking at the Wolf with his tear-filled eyes. "... I see it now, that there was no need to create something that there was always here."
Cerin "... Thank you, Lucent," he takes the box, studying it.
Lucent It is an intricate puzzle in golden and lead, without even a single opening to what it is inside. Even great senses would feel it as a simple cube. It may only be opened by careful arrangement of it, and not by lock nor key, and yet it is in itself a lock.
Cerin "... Fascinating," he murmurs, placing his teacup down without apparently looking, and then grasping the cube in both hands, first running his fingers over it in every direction. Next, he holds the cube up, tapping each of the sides in turn in a pattern of five spots, different and yet the same on each face. And then he thinks for a few moments. And then his hands move, gliding over locks so slight they were barely there, sliding (...)
Cerin pins into sockets just far enough, twisting and sliding ... and suddenly Cerin was holding a golden flower, petals spreading open ...
Lucent ... and as it opens, colors fly out, dancing about them! Colors that fly out like birds-of-paradise, dancing about the two of them, spiraling out of a chrysanthemum whence every one of their myriad petals is a different color of semi-solid ink, in wait for a brush to be used for painting! "Each petal is a different emotion, distilled... and that emotion will impress in those who see your paintings."
Cerin "... Thank you, Lucent," he says with a smile on his face.
Lucent "I believe there is a ritual to make the flower bloom again when it runs out of the emotional paint, but I am not sure what it is," he smiles in return, then thinks... "Would I seem too self-centered if I comissioned a few paintings to go with it?"
Cerin "Of course not," he shakes his head. "What did you have in mind?"
Lucent "One of them is a portrait of that field of woe. Of the graveyard to my unsung friends. I want to remember that sight... to never forget it. And the other is for... Varanim." He touches Lost Mirage, it shimmers... and he takes an image off his mind, like he had done with Abadis, showing Cerin a sunset, a beautiful sunset, he had seen in Varanim's mind.
Cerin "I do my best."
Lucent "And that is all I ask, great wolf." He smiles, pushing himself off the chair. "Thank you for the tea."