Zahara inspects the piles of materials she's shipped to and created on her island, and consults the diagrams once more with a satisfied nod. She looks up at the skeleton of the airship she is building and smiles, then gets back to work on its construction.
charlequin The island breeze blows through Zahara's hair refreshingly. The work on the airship goes quite well -- for once, something seems to be coming along with a minimum of trouble.
Zahara enjoys the change, and the solitude, and the feeling of creating something grand. Something that, when she has created enough, will change the world. New trade routes, new transportation options for those that could afford it, and of course the importance of flying weapons of war could not be underestimated. And all will know who created them.
charlequin Zahara works on, lost in her thoughts, for several minutes, when a voice interrupts her reverie from somewhere behind her: "You're a jerk."
Zahara turns, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, to regard the newcomer. "Am I?"
Nesula has parked herself on top of a beam in one of the skeletal airships, and she has a weird expression on her face that Zahara finds vaguely familiar. "You sure are," she says, and leaps down to a standing position.
Zahara tosses her a hammer and indicates the other end of a board, and some nails. "That's one of the kinder things I've been called."
Nesula catches the hammer and begins to pound the nails in with a practiced, elegant hand. "Well, right now I'm only qualified to comment on the one."
Zahara smiles slightly, though she hides it by working on her end of the board, needing no tools. "What brings you here?"
Nesula slams the last nail into the board, then tosses it casually to one side and begins on the next. "I could not remain with my tribe. Not as I am now."
Zahara "I am sorry, Nesula." She lifts another massive board easily and puts it into place. "It is difficult to suddenly... be someone new. I hope it was not my visit that changed your people's minds."
Nesula shakes her head. "They begged for me to stay. But I couldn't do it." She switches the hammer to her other hand.
Nesula "I needed to find a greater purpose, to match my greater spirit."
Zahara "What purpose do you seek?" She pauses to look at the other woman.
Nesula scrunches her face up. "If I knew, I wouldn't be looking, would I?" She sticks her tongue out of one side of her mouth as she considers the matter. "But I needed to start by making sense of these new memories."
Zahara "I can help with some of that..."
Nesula narrows her eyes a little. "Aaaaalright." She picks up a new batch of nails and sticks them into her mouth. "Trr mh." Her words are muffled by holding the nails in.
Zahara fits the ends of two boards together thoughtfully before she replies. "In the Second Age, you were known as Markuran the Bear. As I told you, he and I were close friends -well, more or less. Together we built the Empire of the Sunlands. You have heard of it, yes?"
Nesula rolls her eyes.
Zahara carefully does not laugh at this. "How much do you know about the recent war?"
Nesula "We saw the broadcast of the Red Lily leaders. We heard reports of the nearby fighting. And we saw the darkness of Calibration."
Zahara "Hmm do you know about the new Exalts?"
Nesula "I think so. I... can't really keep track of all this Exalted nonsense anyway." She squinches her eyes up for a second and brings the solid golden disc into view on her forehead. "I remember that we're the best."
Zahara grins. "Yes. Yes, we are."
Nesula decides to dispense with pleasantries. "So, explain to me why you're being so nice to me now given how much I remember you being a god damned bitch."
Zahara "Because I made a promise. And because I used to love him." She raises a brow, "Would you prefer me to be 'a god damned bitch?' I could do that, but I don't need to anymore."
Nesula laughs. "No, that'll be fine." She slams a particularly large nail into a board with a particularly powerful swing. "If you'd tried to convince me you weren't a bitch, I'd already be outta here."
Zahara smiles, then grows solemn. "Do you remember the tomb, Nesula? When we found Kiriath's body?"
Nesula puts down her hammer and nods quietly.
Zahara "I am... sorry that I wasn't able to stop him. So much could have gone differently." She looks down at her hands, still against the side of the ship. "But now, for you... you will not need to worry about Siram this time." She looks up into Nesula's eyes. "We have done that much, at least."
Nesula nods. She is silent for a moment, and then she says merely "Good," and picks up the hammer again.
Zahara runs her fingers over her arm for a few moments, lost in thought.
Zahara "Did you hate me?" She asks, after a while.
Nesula "Did I?" she asks, quietly?
Nesula "I'm not sure," she says, looking at the ground. "I... I don't think so."
Zahara "I'm sorry. That was unfair of me to ask you."
Nesula shakes her head. "It's... fine, I guess."
Zahara nods. "But," she says making an effort to smile, "I AM a jerk right?"
Nesula laughs again. "Yeah, you are. The only question is who's a bigger jerk: you, or me."
Zahara "Well, right now I'm only qualified to comment on the one."
Nesula laughs again.
Zahara "Will you stay?"
Nesula puts down the hammer again, the current framework apparently completed. "I'll... visit. We'll see if I'll stay." She makes a gesture with her head, as if to say "Sounds good?"
Zahara nods. "As you wish. Perhaps you will find what you are looking for with us. If not, you will of course be free to seek it elsewhere."
Nesula "That... sounds like a plan. Or at least, the beginning of one."
Zahara "Oh, don't mention plans in front of Thirteen. He's a bit plan-crazy. Also quite irritating." She half-smiles.