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Zahara approaches Lucent after things have died down somewhat. "Well, Lucent Copper Haze, it seems that you will be needing a place to stay while you are with us."

Lucent Copper pats the collar. "It will not be a cell now, will it?"

Zahara "Only if you're bad." she smiles.

Lucent Copper "I will be a good boy." He says, earnestly. "So, pick a nice one for me! Or is there one already?"

Zahara chuckles. "Well, not yet. I will rearrange the manse for you." After feeling to make sure there is nobody in the area she is about to change, she closes her eyes, placing her palms against a wall. A strange grating sound is heard, seeming to start further off, echoing, and growing ever closer

Lucent Copper stares intently at everything around him - the Manse, the collar... but especially at the lovers. There is something in his golden eyes - something so warming and familiar in the way he looks at them. Then he stops to see the manse move.... "Interesting... you made it yourselves?"

Zahara exerts her will to stabilize the area, then adds the final touch; The flat hallway seems to mold and indent, an arch-shaped crack appearing in the wall, then resolving into a door, currently closed.

Cerin shakes his head "The manse is Zahara's creation."

Lucent Copper "My, you all are impressive..." He says, smiling admiringly to Zahara before walking up to the door, "How did you even get into this? Come together here and decide to oppose the Lily?"

Zahara accepts the comment graciously with a smile, "Why thank you, Lucent. May I call you Lucent? Things have happened gradually in the Sunlands... Our empire began with only myself, Birds of Trinity, and Markuran-now-the-Deciever. Cerin joined mmm rather recently, perhaps a year ago. Then Kai sought sanctuary with us, and just recently, Flowers demanded acceptance."

Lucent Copper "Yes, I had not heard that he was already with you before I got here... and please do! I may appear formal to you, but I do wish us to have as little formality as possible... we are in this together, after all!"

Lucent Copper looks worried now, "The Deceiver, you say?"

Zahara nods a bit, "Then Lucent it is. You may call me Zahara. The Lily, now. We have opposed them ever since their plans came to light." She regards Luc calculatingly for a moment. "The Deceiver, named after Kiriath the Deciever."

Lucent Copper "I have remember about this one, yes. That I read, that is.... I would hope the abomination had been destroyed already. But it is with one of your former friends?"

Zahara "It was imprisoned. He inadvertently let it out."

Cerin "He was foolish, and let it out of his ... it's prison. It returned later and took him."

Lucent Copper "Oh, wonderful... tell me you have changed all possible resources you had before. The rings, the Manse...?"

Zahara "We are working on it. If you have any ideas on how to improve the manse, that is the next upcoming project. Since we will be altering it anyway, we might as well make good use of the time."

Lucent Copper "I may have some... although Architecture is not my forte, keeping creatures of darkness out is." He says, seeing if he can open the door to his new room, "And keeping people safe. We need to destroy the abomination, however..."

Zahara "Press your palm against the plate." she advises. "I would love to go over your ideas to keep the creatures of darkness out. And possibly go over what type of furniture you would like."

Lucent Copper does so, letting the door slide open, walking into his new room... "Hmmm, I would love silks. And pillows, plenty of them. Veils on the room... and incense. And Solar iconography, of course. I like to feel close to our patron."

<^T^> "That should be simple to arrange. We have plenty of silk, and I will have them embroidered for you."

Lucent Copper "Thank you, Zahara, very much!" He bows, "And... Cerin? I hope I could buy one of your works? They were... breathtaking. would love to have on in my room!"

Cerin "Buy with what coin exactly?" Cerin asks, with a smile on his face

Lucent Copper scratches the back of his head, embarassed. "Now... good question! I do have the treasures of my people to trade in... beautiful gems from the far south! Some quite impossible... pehaps a few that would look good on both you and Zahara?"

Lucent Copper "After all, most services I could grant are more the coin with which I am paying my entrance on the Circle than anything, right?"

Zahara "Indeed."

Zahara "Impossible gems?"

Lucent Copper "Well, I have sold most of them to pay for my people's pilgrimage, but yes... gems like flowers, colored as roses, natural formations in the shapes of the sun or the moon... and of course, a couple that breathe, and are warm to the touch. Quite the interesting sort of things I found on the temple of my old self. Got to admit he had... style"

Cerin "Those gems sound most interesting, yes. Did you have a vista in mind?"

Zahara "That sounds lovely. Where can they be found naturally? They sound as if they were wyld-touched."

Lucent Copper "Well, I would... need to look. I wish you could paint my homeland, but of course, we would need to fight with the Lion's minions just to get there." He grimaces. "They... are of Wyld origin, yes. But they have been altered since then - There were gardens of gems close to the ruling palace-manse, petals singing crystalline on the wind. Those that are alive adorned statues and made them lifelike..."

Lucent Copper "... And I am pretty sure some there were made by forges and Solar power, but both were long gone, Zahara. Pehaps we could found the way to make them? With your ability to craft wonders, surely you could do the same!"

Thirteen wanders in idly, brushing his fingers against the walls. "Ah. A lovely room you have here. You, at least, will not have to sleep on the couch in the war room."

Zahara "How intriguing. Perhaps I can shape some when we go to make more Orichalcum." She half-turns, "Ah, Flowers. And how are you this fine evening?"

Thirteen "I am well. I have come to discuss the preparation of our troops with Lucent Copper Haze."

Lucent Copper "We were just talking about your prettier namesake. Well, and gems." He waves, playfully.

Thirteen "If you are not too engaged, perhaps we might briefly inspect the men you brought with you. I am eager to ascertain the value of your training techniques."

Lucent Copper "Oh, that we can do. I was about to get on to my contribution, really - I would like to see how you run the Sunlands too, Zahara? Said First Age techniques apply to Bureaus as well as Soldiers!" He pauses for a moment, bringing a finger to his lips, "Would you come with us? I could get the gems on their wagons while we are at it!"

Thirteen "In fact, I meant to include Zahara and Cerin in our party. Together we may observe your soldiers' capacities in every area."

Cerin "Of course." Cerin nods "It will be interesting to watch I'm sure."

Zahara nods, "Of course."

Lucent Copper It is not long before the Solars arrive on the gates of the Sunlands, where the Kashaen wait. Clad in silks and veils, to protect from the desert sun, the craftsmanship of their gear showing subleties that allude to a finer age - and a few, salvaged from that age, show true brilliance. In all things, there is a liberal use of gems, as if they had more than they would need, but still not losing the preciousness for them.

Lucent Copper They look up to the Solars as gods - they know well.

Lucent Copper Six hundred look strong and healthy, protecting a number of children and infirm that seems... far less, opposite of what one would expect. And the discipline with which they train and move... a discipline and skill that can hardly be matched even for the remainders of the shogunate in this age. "Here they are!" Lucent says, proud.

Zahara "You have a fine body of men here, Lucent; one to be proud of indeed."

Thirteen "Interesting."

Thirteen "They drill well, although that formation is open to attack from six different angles, in addition to from the air."

Lucent Copper "If you have a way to make them be ready against attacks from the air, Thirteen, I am all ears."

Thirteen "When you begin training our men in earnest, I will provide you with the appropriate plans and strategies."

Thirteen "For the moment, I can only suggest that you ground your right flank against a hill or otherwise refuse it, and detail the units to carefully monitor each other."

Lucent Copper A body of his lieutenants approach - those have even more liberal use of gems. Their spears are masterworks of the highest order, perfect weapons in every way. Bells adorn their silks, and their armor - filled with a imagery of scorpions that seems common there - looks right and durable. "My lord." They bow. "What do you command of us?"

Thirteen "You," he addresses the group as a whole. "Bring me the crippled man in the encampment next to the oak tree," he refers to an infirm, one-legged elder, dozing fitfully in the shade.

Zahara approaches the closest and circles around him, inspecting arms and armor.

Lucent Copper "I will hope the lands given to them are on the Sunland's East, then!" he smiles, looking at his lieutenants, "Obsidian, those are the Lord and Lady of the Sunlands. They are the lords of the lands of peace I promised, and you shall honor them as lords. Oh, and he too." He makes a vague gesture towards Thirteen, as one of Obsidian's subordinates goes fetch the elder.

Thirteen ignores the subordinate as he hurries to obey. "Your name is Obsidian. What rank do you hold? How does your prowess in battle compare?"

Lucent Copper The one closest to Zahara is wearing a breastplate of some sort of hard-worked copper, images of scorpions and flames flowing through it... and strangely, of a lion-headed scorpion. It is laced with lesser magics - thaumathurgy which will never compare to Zahara's prowess. The tip of his spear is of gem as well - sharp using some technique unique to them.

Lucent Copper He is tall, wiry - the life in the desert leaving little fat in his body. His discipline mostly keeps him from shaking, although it is visible the awe he feels in being looked so closely by a Solar. And a woman at that.

Cerin , noticing the magic of the spears and other weapons ... slips away from the others in his subtle way, and starts to walk amongst the warriors of the Kashaen, studying their armament, and the flows within it.

Thirteen sprouts a sudden burnished glow as he waits for Obsidian's response, idly twirling his spear in one hand.

Zahara inspects the materials with essence sight as well, admiring the way the minor magics were used to the best effect.

Lucent Copper Obsidian bows, not looking directly at Thirteen. "I am one of his Majesty's Scorpion Guard. We are to protect his persona. In battle, overall field units defer to my authority. I could hold a whole dragon, but I would overstep my authority - a Talon would be as much as I would command safely together with my peers." The way he says it makes it clear there are /few/

Zahara looks up at Lucent, "This design is interesting. Have you met Tantamount?"

Lucent Copper Soon, the other one of the guard brings the old man as well, looking at Thirteen to know wether or not to keep holding or to bring him to Thirteen's feet... the old man looking at Thirteen as if he was the Unconquered Sun himself, now.

Thirteen "Fifteen seconds a man, forty-five seconds a rank. Your execution interval is extremely impressive. Good work."

Thirteen "They are indeed disciplined, Lucent."

Thirteen "You are a personal bodyguard, Obsidian?"

Thirteen "That old man is an assassin. Demonstrate your reaction."

Lucent Copper "Tantamount? No... I have not. Who is that? And thank you, Zahara.... the design was inspired in my former self, pretty much. So it is twice a flattery."

Lucent Copper In a flash, his spear is at the old man's neck, but no further, and he looks at Thirteen, expectantly. The old man is terrified, looking wide-eyed at Thirteen.

Zahara "My familiar; a winged manticore. He bears some resemblance to your symbol."

Thirteen "Excellent."

Thirteen 's empty hand suddenly moves in a flash of gold, reaching out to tap Obsidian's chest just over his heart.

Lucent Copper spends a moment looking at Thirteen... but decides not to say anything, not here, talking to Zahara still, but not taking his eyes off Thirteen. "I would love to meet him! I have a familiar as well... I think you would love to meet Amika. She is so cute!"

Zahara "What is she?" She watches Thirteen with mild interest."

Zahara "Thirteen, might I ask why you are maiming our new troops?" She asks.

Lucent Copper "Oh, she is a scor..." Lucent sees Obsidian fall to the ground. On a moment, the seven gems on the coronal shine, and seven orbs come out of them, growing out of sunlight, moonlight and stardust, and taking their orbit around their king. He still says nothing.

Lucent Copper He just stares.

Zahara turns to Luc, "I would apologize for his aberrant behavior, but he is not mine to apologize for."

Thirteen lightly slips his hand past Obsidian's suddenly upflung spear, striking Obsidian's chest and sending him back a few paces with the crackle of a broken rib. His armor sags oddly where Thirteen's hand has touched it, as if it has softened under his blow.

Thirteen "You are, indeed, capable."

Zahara strides over to the man, frowning at the damage the Solar did to the armor. "Was that necessary?"

Thirteen addresses Zahara. "How else might one gauge the full capabilities of an elite soldier in a single maneuver?"

Thirteen "The wound is not serious. I am sure he will heal quickly."

Thirteen "Thank you, Obsidian. I appreciate your assistance."

Lucent Copper walks towards Thirteen, exploding in Solar light. He becomes grandiose. His face catches all the light around them, and darken it back to Thirteen. "You will not touch my people again without my permission."

Zahara "Well one could do so without the use of Charms, which skew things in your favor unfairly... unless perhaps you are unable to do so." She turns to the man, touching her stomach, and a hideous beetle squirms out of her onto her hand, "This will only take a moment." She places the demon on the undoubtedly horrified man's skin and it clicks happily before diving inside to fix all the broken bits.

Thirteen "I will do what is necessary to most effectively aid and guide the Sunlands, Lucent. I have never suggested otherwise, and I will not begin today."

Thirteen "Come now, Zahara. We are both well aware that the attack I performed was not superhuman."

Thirteen "He will face attacks many times stronger than the one I performed just now in his service. It is well that he is aware of where he lacks, even as I am aware of where he excels."

Zahara "You were out of line. You only inspire these people to hate you, not to follow your orders."

Thirteen "They can do both."

Thirteen "I will not lead them. Kai will, or Lucent, or the Roseblack, I suppose, in the event that we must face a plague of killer bunny rabbits or other such task suited to her capabilities."

Lucent Copper "Not well."

Lucent Copper "You will have people who will betray you on the first opportunity, Thirteen. You clearly have never faced the Yozis. Or the dead. You clearly have no sense of what it is like to lose the loyalty of your subjects. You are such a child"

Thirteen "If you think the Yozis and the dead inspire fear in me, I can only suggest that says more about your maturity than mine."

Zahara "As amusing as this discussion is," She steps between the two. "Let's take this inside. This is not the place."

Thirteen "We have both faced them before. Only one of us fled."

Lucent Copper becomes evne granderr. Flames swirl about him, catching each and every one of the orbs. His will becomes irreprensible, waves crashing against the molten gold in his eyes. "You do not understand." He says, his voice booming across the clearing, "You will not touch them again without my permission. You will promise it. Not to me, but to them."

Zahara sighs

Thirteen remains unmoved at Lucent's display of power, though the mortals nearby are already cowering on the ground. He idly reaches out to touch an orb, but it darts out of his way.

Thirteen "Your lack of experience blinds you to the realities of life, Lucent. Your men serve you unquestioningly. If you tell them to do what I ask them to do, it is not necessary for them to accept my leadership."

Thirteen "As I have said, I will do what I must, no less or more. Accept it or attack me. In either case, you need not waste your time with pretty lights."

Zahara crosses her arms and watches, with a raised brow. She seems if anything, impatient.

Thirteen "Zahara, the armor is merely depleted of the little latent Essence it possesses, as I am sure you can see. It is the work of a moment to repair for a crafter such as yourself."

Kai emerges from a portal, with a hawk on her shoulder. As she steps onto the field, the bird flits up and transforms into a tall woman with long silvery hair, wearing a uniform of reg/gold cloth, much like the dragon kings were wearing in Rathess.

Zahara "Indeed, but I do not have time for unnecessary work, Thirteen. You would do well not to harm any more people under the protection of the Sunlands, or you will then consider yourself no longer under it."

Kai "Ah, here you all are, I--uhm, I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

Thirteen "Greetings, Kai. It is good to greet you again. Who is your talented friend?"

Lucent Copper "They are loyal to me because I care for them, Thirteen. Now, promise."

Cerin is suddenly beside Zahara again "Greetings, Kai, Serenal."

Zahara "Hello darling."

Thirteen "I advise you both that constant repetition of the same point is unlikely to effect meaningful change in your conversation partner's perspective."

Kai "This is Serenal, Daughter of the Moon, and the First Lieutenant of my newly reformed Radiant Sabres."

Zahara "Now nice for you, Kai."

Kai glares at Zahara.

Zahara "Then as a tactician, you should understand that your tactics are not working."

Lucent Copper "Hello, Serenal." He says, without looking at either. "Zahara, would you mind if I knocked Thirteen out?"

Thirteen "Ah, the confidence of youth."

Kai "I don't think that's a good idea, Luc."

Cerin "Lucent, Thirteen. Both of you, stop it."

Cerin "I must congratulate you Kai."

Zahara "Not at all, although I would rather you didn't."

Thirteen "I am glad to hear that you as well seek to recreate the Radiant Sabres, Kai. I had intended to pursue this avenue myself."

Thirteen "Now, I suppose I no longer need to."

Kai "Well, you've been all popping about with your Shadows Resplendent, I felt like I should keep up."

Thirteen "In the small chest with the starmetal studs in the closet to the right of the war room, you will find a bolt of cloth woven with orichalcum."

Thirteen "Feel free to use it for the outfitting of further soldiers."

Cerin "...My Shadows Resplendant...I suppose they are..." Cerin considers "No, they are not."

Thirteen "I welcome this greeting, Serenal."

Kai "Thank you, Thirteen. I hope to need a lot of it."

Lucent Copper lets his charm-enhanced presence fade. "... Damn it."

Kai "No, Cerin?"

Thirteen "I am sufficiently satisfied with the performance of my tactics at this time, Zahara, thank you for your advice."

Zahara "Make the promise or leave, Thirteen. I will NOT have this among my people."

Cerin "I have not the pin that speaks of my leadership over them. When I have that, they will be the Shadows Resplendant."

Kai "I think you're putting too much stock in markers. They are what you make them."

Lucent Copper "Greeting, Serenal, Kai. It is nice to see someone around here taking the right stance about things..."

Thirteen "For the next four days, you have all you require to ensure my loyalty, Dreambreaker." A tap on the collar. "When we have moved beyond this point, perhaps we may once again offer each other our words, secure in the knowledge that said words are respected."

Zahara "It is not such a difficult thing to promise not to harm our own troops. I was not questioning your loyalty, merely your methods."

Kai smiles at Luc. "I try to keep my feet on the ground as much as possible, especially around here."

Cerin "That pin is more than a marker, or it was to Ymir. Calling them the Shadows Resplendant would merely be a label, of course."

Thirteen "When it comes to my methods, I can offer you what I already have: the chance to win a war, and the promise that I will do only that which I, in my glory as the finest tactician any world has ever known, deem necessary for the best purposes of the Sunlands."

Zahara "Lovely. You are not addressing my point."

Cerin "Thirteen's strike was in no way unreasonable. He should, perhaps have asked first, but the surprise was part of it. The force he used was not in any way excessive. If he wished for Obsidean to be dead, he would be. As it is, he wished to see how fast he defended."

Thirteen "Would it reassure you to note that I find it generally a bad idea to injure the troops you depend on for victory, and place it near the bottom of my list of options in almost all cases?"

Zahara "Moderately."

Lucent Copper "How long did it take you to paint your pictures, Cerin the Wolf?"

Zahara "It is Lucent's call, however."

Thirteen "Thank you, Cerin. I am pleased as always to be under your thoughtful scrutiny."

Cerin "Not more than a few hours, Luc."

Thirteen "Who else do you intend on inviting to become a Sabre, Kai?"

Lucent Copper "I spent months training Obsidian. I have lived months with him by my side. I have shaped him and the others, each and every one of them. And you will not see two of the same paint, and no two of those long paiting will be alike. That is why I will not see them harmed. Them, or the trust they place in me."

Zahara "Will you accept Thirteen's apology, if one might call it that."

Thirteen "Did I apologize?"

Zahara "Not in so many words."

Thirteen "As you are the expect on communication, I must defer to you. If you suggest I apologized, I am sure you are correct."

Thirteen *expert

Zahara "Of course." she smirks. "You inspire SO much confidence in me I almost want to take the collar off right now."

Lucent Copper "You have not, Thirteen Blooming Flowers." He sighs, "And seems like you never will. Keep to your delusions, then. Just remember that someday, I might not only ask."

Lucent Copper might do more than just warn you"

Thirteen "I will trust Zahara over you, Lucent, and assume for the moment I did in fact apologize, although clearly in terms it takes an expert to discern."

Thirteen "Further, I congratulate you on your capabilities. Your soldiers are truly superb in every respect; I can find no flaw in them apart from the tactics they are educated in."

Thirteen "I respect the time and effort it took to make Obsidian a powerful and effective combatant. Rest assured I will not idly cause injury to your people again."

Zahara nods slightly, then bends over Obsidian and retrieves her demon, who seems a bit disappointed that he was healed so easily.

Thirteen reaches down and hauls Obsidian to his feet, then lightly brushes the dust off his back and pats him on the head.

Thirteen "You are a credit to your master, Obsidian."

Lucent Copper looks at Thirteen, but does not reply. The Kashaen help Obsidian to his feet, and the others watch the Solars... their spears only slowly lowering from their combat-ready stance towards the Solar. Obsidian looks at Thirteen without any of the hatred present in Lucent, "Thank you, kind Lord."

Zahara turns to Kai, "Now, dear, What were you saying before?"

Kai "Oh, you mean the part where I'm rebuilding the Radiant Sabres and Serenal is my Frist Lieutenant?"

Cerin "Yes."

Kai "Well, I'm rebuilding the Radiant Sabres and Serenal is my First Lieutenant."

Thirteen "Who else do you expect to add to your ranks?"

Zahara "Yes, that. I apologize; when you first came, I was a bit distracted by a silly quarrel. Now, first of all, I wish to offer you congratulations. Secondly, I would ask why you decided to do so at this moment, although war is a wonderful reason, and what made you choose Serenal?"

Cerin "I seem to recall Thirteen asking if you had any more in mind to join wit-...ah, yes."

Lucent Copper "That is a wonderful idea. We Exalted are to all cooperate... distressing that I have only found antagonism in them until I got here..." He looks at them all, "Hmm, let us not stand here to talk? I have some gems to show people, and we could sit down and eat some legitimate Kashaen food?"

Thirteen "Ah, food. I would be delighted to explore the Kashaen cuisine."

Kai "Well, I know Serenal to be a fierce warrior with a strong heart, and certainly a stake in the war beyond that of most others. Additionally, she is a Lunar and can speak for us in their court and know their ways. As for why now, I suppose it's when things finally came together. Plus, the dragon kings have a store of these uniforms. Two of them will also join the Sabres."

Cerin "I fear I must take my leave at this time. I will see your gems another time, Luc. Good bye, Kai, Thirteen, Serenal." he kisses Zahara then flows off.

Zahara nods and smiles, including Serenal in the gesture, "Wise reasons."

Kai waves after Cerin.

Zahara watches Cerin go, momentarily wishing she had his freedom.

Thirteen "Farewell, Cerin."

Thirteen "You raise an interesting point. The Lunars are a powerful group. It would be as well for us to attempt to enlist them in our cause."

Lucent Copper "Kai... my respect for you grows by the moment." He smiles, after talking to his lieutenants. "So, come on, I need to show you all and Thirteen Kashaen hospitality!"

Kai "Well, I DO enjoy hospitality."

Zahara "Let us then join you, Lucent. For a night, perhaps we will forget animosity and looming disaster."

Thirteen "I would be honored, Lucent."

Tags: (:tags Labyrinthine Cascade, First and Forsaken Lion, Kashaen, Roseblack, Serenal, Radiant Sabres, Shadows Resplendent, Obsidian :)

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