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Zahara leaves her workshop with a new collar of white jade and orichalcum dangling from her fingers. She had made a few tweaks here and there, and added an inlaid scene of the remnants of the fae she had met so recently, in various states of perishment. The battle is not depicted-merely its victims.

Zahara heads downstairs, humming lightly to herself, and palms open the door to the White Room, where she greets her ex-mortal-enemy brightly, "Good morning, Tevezst. How are you today?" She smiles sweetly.

self Hanging on one wall of the room is the fae Tevezst. His appearance is not that of a proud Wyld prince. He is gaunt and pale, the very image of a man past glory; even in defeat his Platonic nature struggles to assert itself. Thick black stubble covers his once smooth face and once immaculate hair now tinges grey at the ends and runs unkempt and wild about his head.

self The fae looks directly at Zahara but makes no sound.

Zahara "I'm sorry, wasn't it clear that I asked you a direct question, my prince?" she steps forward, and the door seals with a quiet whoosh behind her. "I thought we'd gone over the fact that it's simply not polite not to answer me." She retrieves an iron-forged scalpel "Do we have to switch to the Iron shackles again?" she asks with a slight frown, as if she is terribly sorry to even suggest such a thing.

self The cruel noble's expression is grim as he answers. "I am no different than when you last visited me, Zahara."

Zahara "As I recall it, the last time I visited you, I left you both better and worse off than you were when I entered. I see your wounds have healed somewhat since I cut out the iron-burned flesh. You really do not react well to that material; it's quite interesting."

self Tevezst continues to stare intently at Zahara. "You burned me badly. I didn't know if I would survive, that time."

Zahara looks him over thoughtfully, from head to toe. "Of course you survived. I did not wish for you to die." she says, a bit absently. "Just, as always, to suffer. Worry not, you have many, many years ahead of you to contemplate your various sins, and for me to learn from them."

Zahara "Is it not glorious though, in your kind's way, to be prisoner of someone such as I? You should be proud."

self "It is of little importance one way or another. Eventually you will kill me and my story will be over."

Zahara "You do not dream of defeating me, or of escaping your bonds, or being rescued by those who still remember your name?"

self Tevezst chuckles emptily. "Is not your goal in keeping me here to steal away my dreams, as I once stole away yours?"

Zahara smiles slightly, "Of course. I am merely surprised that a being made of dreams can be emptied of them so easily."

Tevezst Tevezst grins slightly. "You are surprised only because you do not remember." His grin grows slightly wider, though it is clear that it is painful to hold the expression. "It was easy for me to empty you."

Zahara chuckles, "I remember quite clearly, actually. Hmm let's see, how did it go... Oh yes! You and your merry band invaded my peaceful village, slaughtering and mindraping as you went. Little knowing that the tiny girl to whom you offered a choice that was not a choice, would use what she became...

Tevezst 's eyes visibly flash as Zahara describes the scene. Not as brightly as they might once have, but.

Zahara "To strip away thoughts of compassion and love. To learn to conquer without remorse. To use others for their skills. To learn how to hide that I have none of the emotions that people consider makes one human. And to become the finest torturer of this age."

Tevezst Tevezst smiles wider as Zahara talks, though it pains him physically to do so in his state. By the time her rant is done he seems more alive than when she entered.

Tevezst "Little knowing, you say."

Tevezst "Even today, you underestimate me."

Zahara pauses, her small blade a hair's breadth from his skin, "Oh, do you have a new tale today?"

Tevezst 's smile fades. "Why do you think I let you live, Zahara? Left that poor, empty shell upon the ground instead of ending its worthless life?"

Zahara "I supposed that you were interrupted by the dramatic rescue." she replies wryly. "I am intrigued that you would have the story go deeper."

Tevezst raises an eyebrow. The gesture is pathetic but somehow all the more resonant given his wild, unkempt appearance.

Tevezst "You truly do have no idea what happened that day. What happened to you."

Zahara retrieves a key from around her neck, and inserts it into a panel just to the left and out of reach of where he is chained. The shackles are released from the wall, although they remain around his wrists and ankles. "I have a habit of looking to the future and not dwelling on the past, my dear Prince."

Tevezst "That is foolish. Only in the past can you find the truth of who you are in the present."

Tevezst 's breathing seems heavy and pained.

Tevezst "Why do you do what you do? You offer aid and assistance to mortals whom you despise."

Zahara "Tell me, then, of your past. Of your plan. And perhaps I will heal your wounds instead of inflicting more this day."

Zahara contemplates his question. "I do so, for an empire with no subjects is worthless."

Tevezst "And when your empire is yours, when no outside source challenges your control. I know what you will do, then."

Zahara "Do tell." She lounges in the comfortable chair across the room. The only other chair (well, normal chair) is a plain steel one that is functional but not terribly comfortable.

Tevezst "You will be a cruel queen, Zahara. When the borders of your Realm are secure, you will turn within to achieve security, to the threats within."

Tevezst "Do you think those who ally with you today will stand for it, Zahara? The things you will do for safety, for control. Will they still call you friend?"

Zahara "Of course they will, as they plot behind my back."

Tevezst smiles. "You know as well as I what will happen, then. What will continue to happen, that is."

Tevezst "Since I know as well as you what happened to your sworn companion Markuran the Bear when he turned against you. As all others will do, with time."

Zahara "And of course, if I had retained what you stole from me, all would be bright and joyful and my empire would live forever. Is that what you mean to imply?"

Tevezst laughs a colder laugh than before. "Oh NO, Zahara. If you retained what I had stolen from you, you would be dead in the earth."

Tevezst "You wish to believe that I have scarred you, made you less than what you would have been. But deep down, you know that I gave you the strength to do what must be done."

Zahara "Oh, however can I repay you?!"

Tevezst "You cannot help but do so. You repay me every moment you live."

Tevezst Even cowed and debased as he is, Tevezst looks surprisingly noble.

Tevezst "Did you know that I watched you, as a child? Peeked in your window at night? Listened to your play, when you thought no one was near?"

Zahara "Ah, is that what that smell was?"

Tevezst "A defensive jest. You are adept at those, now. You protect yourself well."

Zahara "Thank you." she gives him a little bow.

Tevezst "Even hanging out to rot in this prison, I can see that when I chose you I chose well. You were so caring, Zahara. More than any child. Like a saint."

Zahara "So you chose me, out of all the others in my village. I am honored."

Tevezst laughs.

Tevezst "I knew that the greatest monster would be born only from the farthest fall. And as I gaze at your implements of torture and your dungeons I know that I was right."

Zahara "You are correct that you were the source of my strength. That little girl would have given her life away for nothing. For a stranger. Quite possibly for a very cute puppy. She would have done the world good, but not for long."

Zahara "You call me a monster. You are correct; I have never denied such a thing."

Zahara "The Sun may have been a fool to Choose me, but He undeniably did. It his He, not you, that has made me the greatest of monsters."

Zahara "As a mortal, I would have made no mark on the world greater than a fallen village."

Tevezst nods. "But I did not take the very last scrap of compassion from you. Even the monster called Zahara still feels for one thing."

Zahara One thing indeed.

Zahara "Is that a flaw in your design, or a clever source of leverage to be used in the future?"

Zahara "Did you leave one scrap so that its loss would be all the more crushing?"

Zahara "Do you think I value it all the more for its weakness? For the memory that it was once more?"

Tevezst "I simply see what that scrap of compassion has latched on to, and how it is certain to end."

Tevezst "For I include all those who stand by your side now when I say that your allies will not be able to stand by the side of the true Zahara."

Zahara "Well, he DID kill me in my last life. It's not like that will be a surprise."

Tevezst "Oh, he won't kill you. He is weaker than you. You will kill him. It is inevitable."

Zahara "That will be tragic."

Tevezst drops to a whisper. "You have learned much of my kind, Solar, but do you understand how little grasp death truly holds over us?"

Tevezst "You have the drive and the power to become the grandest empress this world has ever seen, to rule over all other living beings with an iron fist."

Tevezst "But to expunge the pain of your first loss, you will destroy every other thing you have ever cared for in the process, one by one."

Tevezst "And when you sit alone on that ultimate throne, that is when my kind will ensure that all know the secret of Empress Dreambreaker: how a villain made her what she was."

Zahara "And so it will be, and perhaps they will even remember your name."

Tevezst "Your revenge will always be empty, Zahara. I cannot truly die, as long as the story I have crafted lives on."

Zahara "Oh but my revenge does not require your death, Tevezst."

Tevezst "When you end the life of your true love, remember that doing so exults me. That it is but the final domino in my grand tragedy."

Zahara "I will always remember what you have done for me." she rises and bows to him.

Tevezst "And I will live on to spite you, whatever tortures you might think to inflict upon me. Think on whether all your sacrifices have been worthwhile. Think on the joy of ruling an empire from a hollow throne."

Zahara places the key back in the lock, and the shackles that adorn his wrists and ankles are drawn abruptly back to their places on the wall. "Your story has been most entertaining, Tevezst. I will return later to discuss it more with you. But for now, I am a bit hungry." she turns her back on him, and exits the room. The door closes silently and leaves behind darkness.

Tags: (:tags Tevezst, Fair Folk :)

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