Lucent is on a garden in the cascade, collecting roses
Zahara approaches him slowly, watching, wondering, wavering. She is wearing her dark cloak, though the hood is pulled back. The strips of True Love still cover her face and arms, but her hair has been cut shorter, braided and twined. If anything, she looks unsure of herself, though, and slightly akward. And also slightly irritated about that.
Lucent "Oh, Zahara!" He turns, happilly, showing her a wreath of flowers. "Good morning! Say, do you think Birds will like those Roses? I've never been too good with flowers, you know. What with living in the desert..."
Zahara "You're picking flowers for Birds?" she raises a brow.
Lucent "Oh?" He looks a little... surprised, blinking. "She did not tell you?"
Zahara "Hmmm no, what is it?"
Lucent "Oh, I... um... you see..." He blushes, looking away and scratching the back of his neck. "I proposed to her a little while ago. She said she couldn't answer until after... all this... is over, though..."
Zahara "Have you considered dating first?"
Lucent "Ha... ha ha... hahaha..." He laughs a little bit, blushing... "Dating is what you do with courtesans, Empress..."
Lucent "I want her to be my Queen!"
Zahara smiles slightly. "I see. But you also want to love your queen, and be loved in return?"
Lucent ".. o... of course!" He nods
Zahara "And you would rather be bound immediately than let it grow naturally?"
Lucent "Well... no... it is just that... I don't know how to do it. Not with a Solar..."
Zahara "What makes a Solar different from any other girl you would wish for your queen?"
Lucent "Oh, Solars are so... distant. And it feels all awkward when they learn you like them. And, well... you know. There is the Circle, and it will feel bad if I press too hard, and, and... it is just awkward."
Zahara "Wait, you find proposing LESS akward than, say, having dinner together? If you don't do something about it before you're married, you'll still be distant afterwards. But you're right about pushing too hard. She will probably not respond well to that." She regards Luc appraisingly. "And, I think, you will have to grow up a little, first, if you want her to take you seriously as a...husband."
Lucent looks at himself... "Ah... um, true."
Lucent "I hadn't thought about that. I thought being a Solar was enough..."
Zahara "Being a boy-king is not enough. You will have to be a king."
Lucent "I am! I, um. Just forgot the size. I'm too used to it, you know. And she liked it."
Lucent "And Kashaen girls do not mind, so I just... um, forgot." He blushes even more, really embarassed.... "Maybe I should go and tell her that I am sorry, to rescind that... and um. Wait until I can grow up."
Zahara "See how she likes the other way. And remember, she is your equal as a Solar."
Zahara nods solemnly.
Zahara "But, before you go, I have a favor to ask of you."
Lucent "Other way? You mean, um, dating first? I'll try!" He nods, ready to scamper off! "Oh? What?"
Zahara produces a torque, that matches his armor wrought in fine orichalcum and gems. The familiar runes and carvings that usually adorn the essence blocking collars run along the inside, adjusted for their new positioning. "Wear this. To ease my fears."
Lucent picks it from her hand... and places it around his neck, without a moment's hesitation. "What will it allow you to do to me, Empress?"
Zahara smiles sadly as the torque seals to a seemingly solid ring. "Control your Essence. I do not intend to have to use it. But games are games, and we are both playing, for better or worse."
Lucent touches it. It is not too tight. "You should talk to the Mask more, he likes those kinds of games too. I've always been a vanilla person, though." He winks. "I know you won't. I trust you. I know it is right to trust you."
Zahara ruffles his hair and smiles. "I'm sure the Mask and I could play some interesting power games, but I'm afraid I'm not ready for that yet."
Lucent "Cerin would kill him, anyway." He nods... "... Cerin will probably end up killing him anyway. But, well, it will be best if he's not angry at you too... though Crow might be sad then. It's been hard to break all that... you know."
Zahara "Yes, probably." she replies thoughtfully. "Ah, but, what about Crow?"
Lucent "I've been trying to convince her to not be so bad. Like that strawberries are good!"
Lucent "I have no idea how it's been going, though... she is all about... you know, death."
Zahara thinks about that, trying to figure out how strawberries will convince her not to be so bad. "Death is not necessarily bad. Isn't that what 'your malfaen' wants?"
Lucent "When you want to kill all existence because it is 'fake', then it is. Those people think only death is real... that the rest is all an illusion, and in death, you get all happyness, all peace." He blinks, looking up at her... "You've been fighting Rosada this long and you didn't know?"
Zahara "Not everyone thinks the same way."
Lucent "Well, that seems to be the common tenet among those Death-Solars. And we need to break them."
Lucent "We need to make them Solar again."
Zahara considers, "Interesting to hear you talk about breaking people."
Lucent "Break them out of their death-chains. Free them. Show them the light."
Zahara chuckles, "Another interesting thing for you to say."
Zahara "Because," she pauses thoughtfully, "sometimes the things of light are also chained."
Lucent "Sometimes... but they are chained for a greater good, at least. For life. For love."
Zahara "For whose?"
Lucent "For the good of Creation and Meru."
Zahara "I wonder what would happen if they were freed."
Lucent "We would have to enforce order some other way. Imagine a rogue Celestial Lion."
Zahara "I would not particularly want to wrestle with Selonis."
Lucent "That is why you keep some people chained. Like your oaths. They serve to chain. Or this collar..." He looks down to it, and smiles. "I think it looks good on me, Zahara, thank you."
Zahara nods, "Later, I'll make you one that is not a chain."