Zahara runs her fingers through Cerin's hair, whispering words of love and comfort, cradling him in a gentle mental flow of love and joy. The battle continues beyond them, but she barely notices.
Cerin opens his eyes just a fraction, shudders at the pain, and then kisses Zahara very firmly on the lips. For a few brief moments, the rest of Creation doesn't exist.
Cerin becomes aware that while the sensation of Zahara's lips on his own has not changed, the rest of the surroundings have fading from the twilight room to the familiar landscape of their shared dream world. He slowly, reluctantly breaks the kiss. "My love, I have missed you."
Zahara looks into his eyes, searching them for the familiar spark she hasn't seen in so long. "I have missed you too. More than I thought possible."
Cerin The spark is there, though there is also pain ... while he had no physical body here, the power of Nyx and the power exerted by the chime to free him had both pushed deep into his soul.
Zahara "Cerin... I am so sorry that... None of this should have happened." There is pain in her eyes as well, and sadness, and flickering beneath it all, a white flame of bitter anger.
Cerin "What are you to be sorry for?" He asks softly. "What angers you so?" His voice concerned.
Zahara "I was foolish. Too caught up in the pursuit of power to see what the price would truly be. Too overconfident to believe that I could be taken. I should have told you to stay away, not to come for me."
Cerin "My love, do you really think I would have paid attention to that?"
Zahara smiles a little, "No."
Cerin "I should not have kept the ring from you."
Zahara "If not for the ring, it would have been something else."
Cerin "And I would have done it for you."
Zahara touches his face softly, not saying anything for the moment. She leans in to kiss him once more.
Cerin leans up to return the kiss, savouring it
Zahara breaks the kiss reluctantly, blinking at the wetness in her eyes. "When I was... with them. During the worst times, I would think of the moment we would be back together. Imagine being back in your arms, and it... wasn't so bad."
Cerin "I should have come sooner ... they should not have been able to do the things they did to you."
Zahara "You couldn't know. Akuna waited for the perfect opportunity. And he had the cruelest of partners in Siram." She runs her hand over her arm. "If I hadn't been the object of their plan I could almost have admired it."
Cerin eyes flare with rage as Zahara mentions Siram. "I did not know Siram did such things to you." He says, hotly. "I would have slain them sooner had I known."
Zahara shakes her head, "I couldn't tell you, love. I spoke with Markuran for a few brief moments. I promised that I would try to save him, and he spared me such pain as he was able. I told no one."
Cerin looks away "Then I have made you break a promise."
Zahara squeezes his hand. "You saved him too, in a way. You let him pass on, and did not consume his soul. We weakened Siram immensely and have him trapped in torment. Nothing since that day has worked out how I envisioned it, but it HAS worked out."
Cerin "Then we will have to take him out and kill him. He will not bring this cycle around again." Cerin says firmly. "Markuran we will have to find once more."
Zahara "I intend to. Thirteen had wished to question him before his final destruction."
Cerin "All he will give us is lies. Even the thousand faced man did not trust him."
Zahara "Why not?"
Cerin "In part because he is evil and corruption incarnate and in part because he served the agenda of Everel, not Nyx."
Zahara "What does Erevel want?
Cerin "I do not know." He says softly. "Even Ymir did not know and she gazed into his soul." He speaks very softly. "I believe it concerns the lacuna."
Zahara "The lacuna?"
Cerin "I do not know and yet I know it exists because I ... did not see it as I fell through Creation."
Zahara blinks. "That... does not make sense."
Cerin "It was there. A spot of perfect nothing."
Cerin "I saw it for an instant, though I could not tell you where."
Cerin "And then it was gone."
Zahara "Nothing... could that be the Void at the poles everyone who's tried to kidnap me keeps mentioning... "
Cerin "Perhaps." He bites his lip. "It was the promise of help against that which lured Talmuda in the age before."
Zahara nods slowly. "I know."
Zahara "Were you caught in the past as well?"
Cerin "So that is where you went..." He remarks, before he nods. "The purpose of the ring I inherited was to take me there. To just before she left Meru to die."
Zahara "Ah, we went a little sooner than that. Three days before the...incident."
Zahara "Did you find what you needed to, there?"
Cerin "I found a lot of things and recieved a few things I did not expect ... and it gave me time to think as myself."
Zahara "As yourself?"
Cerin "In Nyx's service, my mind was never wholely my own."
Zahara nods thoughtfully. "I wondered. I know that you were in his service... I know that when I touched your mind before, it was... different."
Cerin "It is strange ... it is a lie, and yet it is true."
Zahara "Those are the most compelling of lies."
Cerin nods and kisses her again. "Thank you for freeing me from them."
Zahara kisses back. "I'm sorry I hurt you."
Cerin "It was an agony that seared my soul. I would endure it again and more for you."
Zahara "I will endeavor to make it so you do not have to."
Cerin smiles. "It is just slightly more pain than I might enjoy."
Zahara grins. "It has been too long since pain and pleasure have mixed."
Zahara pulls back her hood and unwinds the bandages from her face, slowly, letting them fall to the floor. Her face is no longer the same one he has known. Lines of gold swirl through her skin, highlighting the new perfection of her form.
Cerin traces his fingers over the lines of gold reverently. "You are more beautiful than ever," he whispers.
Zahara smiles, and kisses him again, "And you as handsome as my wildest dreams."
Cerin kisses her slowly, holding her face as he does, feeling the gold warm on her skin.
Zahara runs her fingers over his body, seeking the familiar, and the new, and the feeling of being one with her love again.