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Zahara ::Cerin, my heart. Would you join me?::

Cerin ::Of course, my love:: He thinks back at her with a smile, casting his perception through the manse to find her as he walks to join her ...

Zahara is reclining on the balcony where she had found Cerin, so long ago upon her return. She rubs her thumb slowly over the tattoo on her middle finger, the sunburst mark.

Cerin silently steps through the doorway, stepping out into the sunlight. The black ribbons of his armour drape around him as he silently steps over to her, excepting only the footstep before he stoops to kiss her.

Zahara smiles up at him, kissing him deeply, but there is a slight hesitation there.

Cerin breaks the kiss as he senses the hesitation "My love, what is wrong?"

Zahara takes a moment before she speaks. She looks into his eyes and says softly, "I need to tell you two things. The first, is that you are my one true love, the single most important thing to my heart. Above all else, there is only you." She pauses, and looks down.

Cerin "I know. Above all else, there is only you. I have loved you through damnation and beyond."

Zahara "Do you remember the day I returned here, having learned the highest of sorceries?"

Cerin nods "Of course."

Zahara "I told you then, that I knew that the power would come with a singular sacrifice. I did not know what it would be, but I had hoped that what I knew in my heart was wrong." She clenches her fist. "You got the ring from the Thousand Faced Man after that."

Cerin "When he ... took me aside for a talk, via the mechanism of the gat-..." He says, and then he stops, as the rest of what she said suddenly made sense to him and he just looked at her.

Zahara looks up at him again, slowly. Her voice is filled with pain and regret. "Cerin... can you ever forgive me?"

Cerin is silent for a long time, gazing at her with an odd expression, before he closes his eyes.

Zahara holds her breath, edges of despair and fear mingling with the deepest of love, and a river of regret brushing slightly against Cerin's mind, though she is holding them back.

Cerin "How can I forgive you, my love?" he asks softly. "How can I not?" He still doesn't open his eyes.

Zahara "I... If you do not forgive me, I will understand. I cannot forgive myself."

Cerin "You were the one thing, the one person in all Creation that Nyx could not make me betray. Myself I already had ... Creation I did many times over ... Markuran ... anyone but you." he murmurs.

Zahara reaches up to touch him, but pulls her hand away. "I had thought... that I was only promising myself."

Cerin "I thought I could forgive you anything ... I thought I could never forgive such a betrayal." he says, voice raw with conflicting emotions.

Zahara "When I realized what it meant, and I saw you walk through the fire... I thought that you were lost to me forever. In that moment, I would have gladly given myself back to Akuna and Siram. I would have stripped the power from my soul. But... I realized that fate is not written in stone... and that you were still alive. I found a way to save you..."

Zahara "And now... I can only set you free of me, if you wish it."

Cerin "You could tell my heart to stop loving you?" he whispers

Zahara shakes her head, tears running down her cheeks. "No." she whispers back. "Please, never stop loving me."

Cerin "I won't" He says and kisses her for a time before he breaks it "I don't know if I can forgive you, but I cannot stop loving you."

Zahara nods softly. "I have missed you with every breath. Everything has changed since that day."

Cerin "And nothing has and still I do not know."

Zahara twists the ring she'd gotten back from Lai. She reaches out to touch his cheek hesitantly. "Then do not answer today."

Cerin 's cheek is wet too as she touches it. "Thank you." He breathes.

Zahara 's lips follow her hand, and she kisses his tears away.

Cerin returns the kisses, tasting the salt of Zahara's tears on her check as he kisses them away. For the moment, forgiveness doesn't matter

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