< Drinks With A Head | Sol Invictus Logs | A Child and a Parent >

It is one of the first real duties of the nascent Deliberative, and so those present have come to the newly renovated meeting chamber dressed to the nines. (...)

The few who have already sworn to be a part of this organization sit near the head of the room: Tepet Ejava, now the Viridian Queen, has worn a newly-forged suit of formal armor and a narrow crown she seems uncomfortable in for the occasion, at one side of the room; (...)

Mnemon, elaborately overdressed in a dark purple outfit embroidered in seven patterns representing the auspicious movement of spheres in the plane of Xara -- and pointedly ignoring Ejava as aggressively as she can -- sits at the other. (...)

Ssithumi-an-Tohatep, in her advisory role, has seated herself much closer, just to the side of the Solars; she wears only her typical white garment, her recovered gauntlets (sitting upon her still scarred arms), and a look of determination. (...)

Three extraordinarily lucky servants (given the vast increase in prestige being selected to serve the Deliberative carries) stand ready to announce arrivals once the meeting has begun.

Imrama Having arranged himself with regard to his compatriots on the basis of seniority, Imrama sits furthest to the right of his fellows, with Ssithumi the next figure out. He does not wear his familiar military uniform, but instead a simple but elegant robe of red, black and white linens. His expression is one of quiet triumph: a dream is being realized this day.

Phoenix` is leaning forward in her chair, watching Mnemon with an expression of extreme interest. It can't be seen, however, as she has completed her suit of armour, and so she is a figure all articulated in gold, her helm a crown with three mask-faces: the expressionless, polished visages of Phoenix, Birds, and Alawhi.

Karal Linwei found herself faced with a difficult choice when entering: seating herself next to Ejava or Mnemon, neither of which particularly appealed. She finally settled on Ejava's side after a great deal of debate, in a chair as far to the side as possible; she wears her commander's armor and a look of resignation.

Zahara sits in her chair regally, her expression rather neutral, though her eyes rake over the room and its occupants. Her short, gold-shot hair has grown a little, and is done up in an elaborately formal style, strings of black pearls accenting it. More weave about the gold-leaf collar on her throat, and highlight her dress of deep night silk. The Emblem of the Sunlands is woven into the fabric with gold thread.

Lucent stretched on his chair, covered in simple gold, a ceremonial garb of a sun-priest, southern gems shining on the thurible dangling from his right hand and the holy symbols dangling from his left. The Coronal remained in place, silent, no little Incarna anywhere near him, their gems humming silently, the symbols of all seven looking over the deliberative.

Cerin Cerin sits beside Zahara easily. He is not in red today, or in black. Instead he is dressed in white, a white which at first glance is silk, but when one looks closer is instead strands of starlight, plucked from the sky. His long black hair shimmers slightly in the light, falling down his back unbound. Pinned to the collar are his three customary badges.

The lead servant stands forth and announces. "We have seventeen individuals waiting to be seen, Empress."

Zahara nods to the servant, for a brief moment wondering what her name is, and then speaks. "Please, show the first in."

The servant nods.

A moment later, the first applicant strides in with a reasonably confident step. He is a young man, his skin burned from long days in the sun; his hair glistens with a watery sheen, and a symbol like a spiralling mollusk's shell glows pale blue upon his forehead. A shord, blue jade wavecleaver hangs at his belt, peacebound for the occasion. (...)

"I am Oara," he says, "I come to you from the Wavecrest Archipelago." He bows respectfully.

Phoenix` scribbles down some notes, dotting the 'god-chosen' character with a pointed armoured clank.

Zahara "Welcome, Oara of Wavecrest." She inclines her head in return, and notes the mark upon his forehead. "Please, present your case." ::A godexalt. Hmmm, perhaps in an advisory position such as Ssithumi's.::

"Certainly, Empress." He nods. "Our nation has long been a vital point in Creation's Western Ocean, and that role is greatly increased now as that ocean stretches far further than it ever had before." (...)

Imrama ::They are not gods, but Exalted, and therefore have the right to petition for membership. I think that we must be prepared to at least entertain the idea of their full membership. For the several powerful nations of the former Lily, they are the most likely candidates for representatives.::

Zahara ::Ssithumi is not a god either. She is a chosen of the Sun.::

Lucent ::They are Exalted, made with pieces of Solar Shards. They should have the same rights... after all, when they die, their shards will still look for others. They will still choose the best, right? They are humanity at its best, and deserve as much.::

Zahara ::Their Exaltation is done only by destroying true Celestial Exalts. Should they be rewarded for such? ::

"We also have vast agricultural resources and an effective navy that we can pledge to the service of the Deliberative, after our membership. I have been chosen from amongst my people, for I have far greater skill in sailing, and far more knowledge of the other nations of Creation, than almost any other."

He bows again. "I humbly beseech for my admittance into the Deliberative, that I might represent my people in this great endeavor."

Imrama ::They should be neither rewarded nor punished. We are faced with a world in which they are a numerous and powerful reality. We may make them a part of our new order, or we may ensure that they shall ever be our enemies.::

Phoenix` ::So our brothers and sisters have died to make them; so what? We can make a net as was made before, and capture and count the souls that were lost, but while they live I see no reason to do war on people who come in peace.::

Imrama "I am impressed with both the strength of your case and the humility of your presentation. There can be no doubt that the nations of Wavecrest is a vital thread in the tapestry of Creation. Please tell me though, Oara: who is it that rules now in Wavecrest, to have chosen you as a representative?" Imrama strokes his chin.

Cerin ::There is no net to be made, Phoenix, to catch those pieces of soul. They are ground too small. But that is still no reason to war with them. There is nothing to gain.::

Zahara "Thank you, Oara. You have made a compelling case." She inclines her head to him respectfully, and waits to hear the answer to Imrama's query.

Cerin (( ** scratch that ))

"The Eighty-Seventh Feathered One rules us. He guides our nation in all of its doings."

Phoenix` "What happened to the first eighty-six?"

"They... died, or stepped down? We have kept the tally for many years. The current Feathered One stepped into place three years ago."

"The next will be elected by the elite of Wavecrest upon the onset of Fire," he adds.

Phoenix` nods. Clank.

Zahara "What is the name of the current Feathered One?"

"Ekish Alo. He has been a citizen of Wavecrest since birth."

Phoenix` "I have one last question. What is your most astounding deed?"

Oara blinks. "I dove deep beneath the sea and slew a water dragon that had devoured several children and elderly persons, then dragged its body above the waves in one hand that all might feast on its remains."

Phoenix` "Hmm, AND elderly persons, you say? A dragon MOST voracious." The voice lacks any notable expression.

"I am recent into my power," he says. "I hope that in the future, my most astounding deed will be one I have done in service of the Deliberative."

Phoenix` ::Can we do this every year?::

Lucent ::Certainly. We could have a contest. Good way to keep an edge on us all.::

Zahara ::Yes, and a party.::

Imrama ::We shouldn't keep this nice fellow waiting. I'm going to give him the thumbs up if no one objects.::

Zahara ::I have reservations, but no full objections.::

Lucent ::I vote that he be let in the Deliberative, yes.::

Cerin ::I agree.::

Imrama "Oara, the Exalted Deliberative would be greatly pleased to add the nation of Wavecrest to its honored rolls. If this is to be the case, your country will need a representative on this body, to be its advocate and guardian in all matters. Will you accept this charge?" Imrama's face is serious, but joyful.

"I accept," he says, and bows once more. "Thank you for this honor," he says, and files to one side.

The servants, who want to keep the whole thing moving as quickly as possible, waste no time in bringing the next supplicant in:

A young woman, of moderately dark skin and golden brown hair. The walks with a light step and has what almost appears to be a faint halo around her head. Her clothes are a loose, but elegant, suit of greenish-grey, and she bears no weapon. (...)

"I, Xuan Ei, bring greetings from the nation of An-Teng," she says.

Zahara "Welcome, Xuan Ei of An-Teng." She inclines her head in return. "Please, present your case."

The Solars note that, although the woman seems to have Essence of Solar aspect, but... appears more like a Terrestrial Exalt in Essence makeup.

"Thank you. The nation of An-Teng has long been a great producer of food and a nation with a great military power that can be brought to bear when needed. And," she adds with a smile, "though we treated with the Realm, always we have kept the worship of the Unconquered Sun alive in the darkness."

Cerin ::I have read about beings such as her before:: "How long have you been Exalted?"

Imrama 's mouth hangs just slightly agape. ::A Golden One.::

Lucent ::*Interesting*::

"Since my 13th birthday," she says. "I arose with the sun on the first day after Calibration and had a... spiritual experience."

Zahara studies her with hidden fascination, wondering how many others like her there are in An Teng. She smiles to her, and nods. ::Intriguing indeed. ::

After considering for a moment, she says "It has always been thus, in my family."

Phoenix` ::We need to keep this one close, I think.::

Zahara "Have you any brothers or sisters?"

"Two and three," she says. "From eleven down to two."

Zahara nods.

Zahara ::I wonder if she knows about the Sun. Ah well, now is not the time.::

Imrama "Is this inheritance to be found among any other family of your nation, Xuan Ei? And may I also ask - does it afford you any position within the religious or political authorities of An-Teng?"

"Given our role in maintaining the torch of the Sun's light, our strong economic power, and our willing to utterly dedicate ourselves to the cause of the Deliberative, I believe we are an excellent addition." She smiles a heartbreaking smile -- no magic involved, just absolute, unbelievable charm.

Zahara ::I think I like her.::

Phoenix` ::I do too. Probably means we shouldn't trust her.::

Phoenix` "How long are you staying in town, Xuan Ei? Would you like to join us for tea?" Phoenix shakes her head a little. "Wait, I mean, what authority in An-Teng are you representative of?"

"I am the eldest daughter of Ei, the Sunblossom family of An-Teng. We... have traditionally ruled the land, though of late our role has been more... circumspect."

Phoenix` "Very good." ::Well?::

Lucent ::Anyone who acknowledges the sun in such a way has my vote.::

Phoenix` ::I vote in favor of all circumspect royalty, incidentally.::

Imrama "It is a new age, Princess Xuan. Time for all the hidden candles to step out into daylight." ::This woman is exactly the sort of person who should be on this Deliberative.::

Xuan nods. "Thank you." She, too, precedes to the side.

Another individual quickly steps out. He is a young man, with slightly mussed, bone-white hair and an eager look. He bears a shimmering, unreal shield and a matching, peacebonded sword, and wears elaborate and regal armor. (...)

"Japhir Hegedon, reporting as indicated in the letter granted to you by my liege," he says, and performs a sharp military salute.

Phoenix` ::Oh my. Can I enlist that one in my PERSONAL service?::

Imrama ::It could only help our relations with Great Forks.:: Imrama returns the salute crisply. "Officer Hegedon, the authorities of Great Forks have named you as their nominee to the Exalted Deliberative, to represent your nation and its interests. Are you prepared to execute these duties, whatever the cost, and to lend your will and might to the defense of Creation?"

"I am," he says, and salutes again.

Imrama ::This is their candidate. Great Forks will make a strong ally and a major propaganda victory if we accept him, and a likely enemy if we reject him. He is likely to have been nominated because the Three believe they can control him. I believe that, given time, we can convince any member of the Deliberative to think for themselves.::

Phoenix` ::Very well.::

Imrama "Very good then. I wish to point out to you, Japhir Hegedon, that Great Forks has traditionally been a regional leader in its area of the Hundred Kingdoms, and that, at the moment, none of your neighbors are in affiliation with this body. It would be to the benefit of all if you and your nation were to lend your influence to our expansion."

Japhir nods. "We shall endeavor to do our all. Thank you," and with a nod, he too steps aside.

A moment later, another individual steps out. A... big man, extraordinarily groomed yet tough and muscled, clad in dark bronze armor and red cloth, with a symbol of a stone and flame emblazoned across his breast. His hair burns with intensity, and he steps forward and cracks his great spear upon the ground loudly.

"I, Flame of Glory, come here to represent the state of Veltann before the founders of the august Deliberative," he says, and makes an extraordinarily elaborate bow.

Zahara raises a mental brow at the display, "Welcome, Flame of Glory of Veltann. Please present your case." ::Feisty, isn't he?::

"Certainly." He gestures with an elegant flourish. "Veltann is a grand city-state, home of the finest artisans in the south and great wonders that have no equal in other cities. The Stone and Flame, the ruling caste of Dragon-Blooded Exalts, have always remained guarded against the Scarlet Realm, yet friendly with those who seek justice and fair trade." (...)

"We offer great resources to the Deliberative, and I, Flame of Glory, as the most storied diplomat and grand master of all three distinct styles of Veltannian fencing, am the greatest offering the city can make to earn our place in this august body."

Lucent ::He has the attittude, got to give him that.::

Imrama "We would be interested, Flame of Glory, in seeing your neighbors come into association with us as well. Is this a diplomatic initiative with which you could assist?"

"Perhaps, with the more amenable nations of the south," he says. "We would be only too happy to assist, of course."

Imrama ::This fellow seems...inoffensive enough.::

Lucent ::Agreed.::

Zahara ::Indeed.::

Imrama "Then we will be pleased to have you join our ranks."

alsoquin bows while making a salute with his hands, which leave tiny little trails of fire in the air forming a sigil of gratitude. "My nation thanks you," he says, and steps aside.

One of the servants walks up to note, "Excuse me, but... the next arrival wishes to lodge a formal complaint...."

Lucent "Complaint? What for?"

"He... refused to say." He looks rather upset at this turn of events.

Zahara ::Oh, good.:: she 'says' drily.

Lucent ::About time. You KNOW things were going too smoothly.::

Imrama "Will he enter then and convey the complaint in person?"

Another of the servants ushers in the messenger, who Zahara, and Zahara alone, immediately recognizes: it is the thin, black-haired man who brought the message summoning the Sunlands' rulers to their first fateful meeting with the Mask of Winters.

Zahara "Welcome, Emissary of the Mask of Winters."

The man stands and unfurls a scroll, which he begins reading loudly and quickly. "Assembled hosts of the Deliberative, I come bearing a message of complaint from the Mask of Winters, ruler of Thorns and Lookshy, Dark Lord of the Eastern Shores, Icy Hand of Greatness, Glorio--" he cuts the list of titles short at the sight of an absolutely deadly glare from Linwei. (...)

"The Mask of Winters has kept to all agreements he has entered into with the Sunlands and other signatory nations. In addition, he is the Essence-using lord of two major Eastern cities, and a generous spirit with an immeasurable quantity of knowledge, insight, and material resources to contribute to other nations of Creation." (...)

"His pre-emptive exclusion from the body of the Deliberative is a harsh and uncalled for insult to his personage and to the citizens of Thorns, one that he shall not stand for. He demands that he be granted proper representation within this body, lest he be forced to sever diplomatic ties with all signatory nations."

He clears his throat and awaits a response.

Imrama "The Sunlands have remained ever faithful to their treaties with the Mask of Winters and his government, and the Exalted Deliberative would be willing to enter into negotiations with the Dark Lord, should he be willing to extend similar terms. He has not been preemptively excluded, as you suggest..."

Imrama "It is simply that his present loyalties and the disposition of his military forces preclude his membership at this time. Should he wish to forswear the service of the Neverborn, and undertake an oat of loyalty to Creation, its spirits and and living inhabitants, and to address the concerns of the living natives of Lookshy and Thorns, it is possible that accommodations could be made."

Lucent "He did that himself when he struck at Lookshy, I believe. If the Mask will place the control of the River Province's Gates back to Creation, we could pehaps discuss this. As it stands, however, our goals seem mutually exclusive. As it is, he seems to go about mistreating champions of Creation, what is against the very intent of the deliberative. We wish to strenghten Creation and the Exalted host, not weaken it."

Lucent "However, as Imrama said, it would give me no end of joy if the Mask renounced his dark masters and took the side of Creation once again. Please tell him I have said so."

Imrama 's mind-voice is contrite. ::My apologies, Lucent. Given your close history with Larquen, I ought to have defered to you in this matter.::

The man grunts unhappily, then folds up his scroll and walks out the door.

Lucent ::No, it is alright. You have been a great diplomat for us so far. And the fact our words were almost the same are certainly doing wonders for the faith in a united deliberative.::

The servants, ready to get the process back to normal, move to usher in the next visitor.

This individual swaggers in with a cocksure walk. A muscular but lean man in fine (but still brash) pantaloons and an open shirt, he balances a wavecleaver across his shoulder in a jaunty fashion. He might once have been attractive, but the scars on his face put an end to that. (...)

Water drips from his hair and clothing as well, but unlike the previous arrival he is nothing but a Water-Aspected Dragon-Blood. He steps forward, stands at a cocky angle, and does not speak.

Zahara "Your name, please?"

"Depths-of-Ocean," he says.

Zahara "And who do you represent?"

"Coral Archipelago."

Zahara "Welcome, Depths-of-Ocean, of Coral Archipelago," she says, drily. "Please present your case."

He swings the daiklave off of his shoulders in one smooth arc to stick it point-down into the floor, then leans on it arrogantly. "Coral is a big, powerful nation. We have one hell of a navy. We're about the only thing really standing between the Bodhisattva and whatever bad shit he wants to do, and everyone else."

Zahara ::I think I'd rather have representatives of the Western Circle represent them.::

Lucent ::AND you are so quite full of yourselves. For Sun's sake, some little island out West.::

Imrama "That is an interesting observation, Depths-of-Ocean, given that when the lost hero Revan and I stood against the Silver Prince's mightiest weapon, and half a score of his foul lieutenants, not one of Coral's children stood beside us."

"And during the rest of the year, when you fancypants Solars don't deign to drop in and work your fancy little mojo, who do you think is dealing with him?"

Phoenix` "Maybe they were distracted."

Phoenix` "I find that, when at the seashore, I often encounter a number of diverting experiences, such as shiny stones, interesting pieces of broken shell, and little fishies."

Phoenix` "I imagine that it must be very challenging to do anything useful if one were to actually -live- in such a place."

Depths-of-Ocean mutters something very, very quietly that Phoenix would probably assume he didn't, if she granted any particular benefit of the doubt.

"We're the biggest military force of /alive/ people in the West. We also never sold out Creation to the Gods in the war," he adds with a glance over at Oara.

Imrama laughs in a jolly sort of way that invites others to join in. "But we are conscious of the power of the Coral Navy, and we would wish to see it strengthened, wedded with the other forces of the West, and put to use so that the day may not be far off when the ships of the Yozis and the Malfeans no longer plow the nine seas...."

Lucent ::Unfortunately... he kind of has a point there.::

Imrama "We have recently admitted the nation of Wavecrest to our number. If you can agree to a basic peace between your two flags, then there is no reason why we cannot make common cause."

Depths-of-Ocean pauses. "What do you mean by a 'peace,' exactly?"

Imrama "Nations of the Deliberative do not wage war against each other, nor do they practice banditry, piracy or privateering against their fellows, nor do they give aid or safe harbor to those that do."

Depths-of-Ocean pauses for a moment. "I'll talk to the Sea Lord about it."

Imrama "Then we will await the judgment of your government."

Phoenix` "Thank you for coming to see us!"

Lucent ::I do not like him. Any way we can handpick some decent individual in that place?::

Depths-of-Ocean swings his sword back up and walks right back out of the room again.

Imrama ::We might see if we can make some friends or our own in Coral. Or we might depend on the wisdom of the Sea Lord to notice that his representative is wildly ill-suited to the job.::

Phoenix` ::Or we could use him to keep everyone on their toes! It'd be better than, say, having to rebuild a seat for some crazy spider-man from the East.::

Lucent ::He is not a usable tool, however. We would spend far too much time NOT punching his face in to be much effective.::

The next arrival walks in. A rough woman of indeterminate age, her hair brilliant auburn and her narrow hands rough but agile, her breastplate bearing a mon that none present have seen before, and her deep crimson and white robes flowing softly behind her.

She steps forward and executes a deep, formal bow in the old Shogunate style, still practiced amongst the more traditional Realm families. "Cathak Ekkarim, reporting in representation for the Red Kingdom," she says, her head remaining bowed.

Phoenix` gestures at a previously motionless servant in a lacquer replica of her armour, which returns the bow with equal formality. "Welcome. Your case?"

Imrama takes a moment to examine Tepet Ejava's face before questioning the candidate.

Ejava's face is set and determined, as is so often true. If Imrama had to guess from the look in her eyes, though, she knows this person -- not with hate, but certainly not with love either.

Ekkarim clears her throat. "As the newly appointed government of the southern region of the Blessed Isle, one dedicated to peaceful coexistence with our living neighbors, and which represents still a vast portion of the Terrestrial Exalts living within Creation, we wish to petition for a place upon the Deliberative council."

Phoenix` "I hear no objections. Cathak Ekkarim, we'll be pleased to have you join us."

Ekkarim nods, then glances over -- with, perhaps, a hint of concern -- at Ejava's place, then turns back to the Solars. "Thank you."

As Ekkarim steps out, another visitor swoops in. An older, paunchy man, with dark skin, a gigantic mustache, and a confident -- but not cocky -- walk, clad in the traditional desert garb of the Delzahn. (...)

He swoops in to the front of the room and draws out a sword, which he spins twice through the air before falling to a bowed position, the blade spread across his hands as he offers it up to the assembled. "Kivir Khalosh at your service."

Zahara "Welcome Kivir Khalosh. Please present your case."

Kivir rises up and sheathes his sword with a similar flourish. "Dear friends, I come here today to offer the fondest greetings of the Tri-Khan. The city of Chiaroscuro has always been friendly to others, and sought to maintain a city of trade and joy for all who crossed its borders." (...)

"As his very favorite great-great uncle thrice removed (by marriage), the Tri-Khan tasked me with the difficult but glorious task of representing his interests to this body." He grins. "Luckily, I come armed with an offer of discounted docking rates and unfettered access to the city's shipping storage for Deliberative nations who seek to make use of the Gateway to the South."

Imrama peers at the affable jent over his sunlenses, watching the Essence flows around him.

Khalosh is an Earth-aspected Dragon-Blood... and a particularly weak one at that. Imrama would guess that he's spent his years doing something other than honing his mastery of Essence.

Lucent ::Hmmmm. I like him. Chiaroscuro always had a good place in the South, as well.::

Zahara nods amenably

alsoquin grins even wider. "On behalf of my family, I thank you. May the Sun shine always upon your dealings, and the wind lift your feet to fly."

Zahara smiles, "Thank you, Kivir Khalosh. I look forward to dealing with you."

"And I you, Empress," he says, and sashays out.

The servant goes out to the door to usher in the next applicant, and waits there for just a moment in seeming confusion as no one immediately enters....

Varanim Then Varanim comes in just as the servant is starting to turn back in confusion, patting him on the shoulder with a smirk as he nearly collides with her. She's hawk-featured, with dark tanned skin hair the same color as the greenish-gray moss that drapes some dead trees. She's all in black, a severely cut robe with a high collar, and holds a metal-banded staff in one gloved hand.

Varanim "Is this the important people's club?"

Zahara raises a brow with an amused smile, "Indeed. And who are you?"

Lucent "We are the Solar Deliberative, yes. Seat of Exalted Might, Protectors of Creation."

Imrama ::Exalted Deliberative, Lucent. We must learn to speak inclusively.::

Lucent ::Old habits die hard.::

Varanim "I'm Varanim. You people need to back my research, and this seemed like the best time to let you all know at once."

Imrama "Tell us about this research, and why it is that we need to support it."

Imrama_ [~chatzilla@Magic Star?-FCA 570 BB?.bos.east.verizon.net] entered the room.

Varanim grips her her staff in both hands and rests her forehead against it for a minute, as if gathering her strength. "I'll try not to bore you with all the little fiddly bits, but there are some very cranky people who were never really people, and they're asleep under a big blanket of dead people. Because they're lonely and want hugs, sometimes they make bunches of little people who aren't...

Varanim ...people either." (...)

Varanim "Then, because when you never lived and do nothing but sleep you have /lots/ of time to be pretentious, they these little people names like the Recumbent Hundredfold, even though 'Ija' is a much shorter and perfectly servicable name. I'm sort of doing a project on them." (...)

Varanim "There's lots of gross diagrams and eldritch speculations and stuff. But really, the short version is that you should support me because it'll annoy the First and Forsaken Lion, and who doesn't wake up in the morning wanting to do that?"

Lucent "Hmmmmmm." ::Fortuitous. Also, I have to tell Glimpse she said that.::

Zahara raises a brow. "I see you're using the technical terms."

Lucent "We were actually researching them as well. More than just back it up... we should compare notes."

Varanim momentarily looks like she'd like to sneer at the suggestion of comparing notes, then some more long-sighted impulse restrains her and she nods shortly. "Lovely. Is there more ritual bowing and scraping, or shall we just discuss it later?"

Lucent smiles "We can settle for just a little more ritual bowing and scraping."

Imrama "Before we get into that, I feel the need to point something out." Imrama stares intently at Varanim. "You are a Solar, and we don't see many of those. Well, besides ourselves and each other, obviously."

Varanim "With you so far," Varanim says cautiously, after a pained look at Lucent.

Imrama "Begging the pardon of members of the Deliberative who do not share my persuasion, I must say, this is a cause for great joy and celebration. One more of Heaven's lights has come in from the cold."

Lucent 's eyes go wide "... she is a Solar?"

Varanim starts to look distinctly dismayed.

Varanim "We could swap--I'll skip the bowing if you skip the joy."

Zahara chuckles wryly, eyeing the new Solar. "Where have you been that we haven't heard of you?"

Lucent and Imrama cut her mid-sentence with simultaneous exuberance. "No deal!"

Lucent "This is cause for a Celebration. As we are so few, now." Lucent smiles. ::Pehaps to accept another in the Circle, if we end up dragging this one with us into the whole mess in Netheos...::

Varanim "I was drenched in sweet, comfortable obscurity," Varanim says to Zahara, picking her temporarily as the sanest of them. "I'm only here because the voices in my head kept pestering me."

Zahara "Are those the sort of voices that tell you you used to be someone else, or the sort of voices that tell you to kill people?"

Varanim She cuts a hopeful glance sideways at Lucent and Imrama, hoping that dims their enthusiasm.

Lucent only smiles *brighter*, as if he had an inner sun that filled the room with but a smile. "Would one of those be Glimpse of Night?"

Zahara glances over at Lucent, thinking 'Oh yeah.'

Varanim "Ah, mostly no, no, and no," Varanim goes in order. "Really, you don't need to be happy to see me; new experiences make me queasy."

Zahara "In that case, perhaps we shall wait to express our joy for another time. Unfortunately we do not have time to chat and exchange notes right now, but we will meet with you afterwards."

Zahara "That is, of course, if you are amenable?" She arches a brow.

Varanim nods, perhaps fearing that any more words on her part will trigger another leakage of joy.

Lucent "And then we can have a ceremony and festivities to greet a new Solar." He nods, pehaps the only one there whose smile couldn't be made dimmer by those glances. "Xuan Ei can probably help."

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