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After securing the ghoul in the cell, Cerin once more enters Zahara's area of the dreamworld, and approaches the obsidean castle once more,

Once again, Cerin is greeted by the twin lions, who glare at him suspiciously.:: "Have you done as our Mistress has asked?" They demand.

<Cerin> "I have done." he speaks calmly

<Zahara> Lion: "Is that your message?"

<Cerin> "No." he looks at the lion slightly askance. "Tell her I have done as she bid. That the ghoul is secured in her dungeon. Tell her that I need to speak with her again, to see her again."

Again, the lion's mouth opens, and the little mouse pops out. It pauses between the gaping fangs to wiggle its whiskers at Cerin cheekily before hopping out and disappearing through the mousehole.

  • Cerin waits
  • Zahara looks up as the mouse appears in the inner courtyard, a garden of crystalline flowers whose scent fills the air. She chuckles as she sees the little creature, placing a flower with two petals left on it on the intricately designed bench, before reaching down to cup the creature in her palm, raising it to eye level. "Who is it?" she asks.
  • The`Mouse chitters out Cerins message excitedly

<Zahara> "Hmmm only one ghoul?" she draws herself up straight and affects an imposing attitude. "He may enter." The mouse scurries back out and dives down the lion's throat as the doors grind open.

  • Cerin waits for a moment as the doors open, then steps inside the castle.
  • Zahara can be found in said courtyard, looking much less annoyed than the last time he'd seen her, yet still not terribly amused.

<Zahara> "I see you have returned," she says, her voice carefully neutral.

<Cerin> "Hello my love. I did as you asked." he nods "And I have returned to you."

<Zahara> "You brought one ghoul? Is that all there were?"

<Cerin> "There were some two thousand ghouls in the horde. There was no appriciable difference between one and the next, and so one was all I took."

<Zahara> "The tales sounded as if there were more than one kind of evil. Was that all there was, just simple ghouls?"

<Cerin> "They are not simple ghouls. They have no essence. No simple ghouls could have done the magic they did either."

<Zahara> "What magic did they do?"

<Cerin> "As as described, they surround the village after they killed the inhabitants, carved sigils in the ground and a wave of necromancy washed inwards. As that happened the villagers returned to life, the essence within them vanishing as the crimson sigils grew on them."

  • Zahara frowns, "There was no single being setting the spell, guiding these ghouls?"

<Cerin> "No, there was not."

  • Cerin is getting slowly, noticably more anxious as the conversaion is going on, though he is trying to hide it.
  • Zahara frowns, narrowing her eyes. "That can't be right." she taps her fingernails against the bench, making a tic tic ticking noise.

<Cerin> "The ghoul I captured does seem to be possesed of a certain amount of volition. It shows anger and rage at least."

  • Zahara sets her lips in a thin line. "If what you say is true, then this is a kind of sorcery I know nothing of, unless it is being powered by a higher, overarching spell.

<Cerin> "That is my thought too. They had no essence though. Even zombies show essence. these had merely the finest spiderweb tracery linking the sigils. Apart from that they were black holes to my sight."

<Zahara> "Well then. I shall have to study this ghoul you brought me thoroughly. I assume you will help me with the testing?" she smiles slightly.

<Cerin> "Of course." after he says this he looks at her with some hope in his eyes. She is similing now at least

  • Zahara notes his expression with pleasure, which does not reach her face any more than the tiny smile she already displayed, "Excellent." she lifts up the nearly-denuded crystal flower. "Do you know what this signifies?"
  • Cerin shakes his head.
  • Zahara chuckles softly, "One of these stands for 'he loves me' and the other for 'he loves me not. Which should I pluck first?"
  • Cerin looks at her with something approaching terror visible to her within his eyes. "That one." he points to the one on the left. Though if you need a flower to tell you that...is the unspoken question.
  • Zahara pinches the petal between her fingers, and breaks it off with a ringing noise, then crumbles it to dust, which floats sparkling on the breeze.
  • Cerin eyes seem to follow the path of every mote of dust
  • Zahara , after a very long, drawn out moment, says softly, "He loves me not." Good thing for you this contest is rigged.
  • Zahara breaks the last petal off and offers it to Cerin.
  • Cerin takes it as he steps closer. "And this one?" he asks softly, hope filling his eyes once more.
  • Zahara finally smiles truly, and draws him into her embrace, whispering in his ear "He loves me."
  • Cerin kisses her very gently to start, though with mounting intensity, the stress he was under flowing from him in the embrace.
  • Zahara concentrates briefly and the crystalline flowers fade away into darkness, replaced by soft pillows and silks with flowered embroidery. She pushes him down amongst them.
  • Cerin falls down onto them, pulling her down with him, embracing her again.

Tags: (:tags Shadowed Unlife Equation:)

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