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Varanim "So, says Varanim to Zahara, having sprawled in a nearby chair and commenced to gnawing on some citrusy fruit, "let's say you've just moved into this really great house--comfy furniture, fancy clothes in the closets, all that sort of thing."

Varanim "The only thing is, there's this sort of crazy chick who keeps coming around, and she wants to sleep with you because you're wearing the old owner's clothes and she thinks you're him."

Varanim She pauses momentarily to spit out a seed.

zahara is idly carving something out of jade, using tools for the sake of feeling tools in her hands. "Is that a question?"

Varanim "That was background. The question is, do you tell her what's up and hope she gets lost without any more trouble, or do you just let her keep thinking you're him? The sex is great, if that affects the decision."

Varanim "I mean, nothing quite like good crazy-sex."

zahara turns her hand palm up "You have a point. But what makes you think they'll go away just by you telling them you're not him? And, what makes you so sure you're not?"

Lucent steps through the window in plataforms made of flat Celestial symbols, holding a scroll on his hand, "Zahara, thank the sun you are here, I was looking for you..." He stops, looking at Varanim and retroactively remembering the bits of conversation he had overhead without thinking. "... oh, sorry."

Varanim "Hm, it's uncertain she'll go away--after all, crazy. And do I look like a guy? Previous owner definitely dead, also had boy parts when alive. So, what. You're saying call the militia on her?"

Varanim shuts her mouth with a snap.

zahara "No, I'm saying that despite your wishing otherwise, your shard was someone else before." She continues on blithely despite Lucent's presence - or perhaps because of it, having noticed their reactions. "And it does not always choose the same gender. Besides, if the sex is that good, why chase her away? Ah, hello Lucent." She smiles pleasantly

Varanim rolls her eyes. "Ixnay on the ardshay in front of--" she can't think of a snappy code name she likes for Lucent, so she makes the exaggerated smile face.

Varanim "Oh, hey there, Lucent," she adds as if just recognizing him.

Lucent "Oh, yes, Shards." He plops himself on a closer chair. "It was quite a problem before. Hello, Zahara, Hello, Varanim! If you want, I can get one of our old manuals on how to deal with that sort of thing for you." He smiles. THAT smile. "Why, in my three hundred years, I saw that happen so..."

zahara "Has it ever happend to you, Lucent?"

zahara tosses a peeled citrus fruit to Luc

Lucent "Yes. Both with a Demon that had been remade and two shards reborn. It is... complicated. In a way, the shards seek similar people - you can see that between Ymir and Cerin, or Alawhi and Birds - so it is not like a new person. Exalts love to say they are their own men and unrelated to what came before, but that is only a half-truth."

zahara "Ah yes, the one in your necklace. The only remaining shred of the Ebon Dragon in existence." She adds tha tlast helpfully for Varanim.

Varanim By now, Varanim's eyes are rolled back so far that she can see her brain. "If I put on your hat," she says with exaggerated patience to the two of them, "it does not make me you. It makes me a person in a tacky hat."

zahara "Wei Dan had a hat that Thirteen inherited. It was quite fetching."

Lucent "Yes. I was remembering his songs beforehand. They knew how to love in ways man has forgotten, you know." He touches the necklace. "Quite a sad thing. Also, he inherited the attittude, the place in the world, the way to view the world. And that was indeed a nice hat! Fashion is not what it once was."

zahara rolls his eyes at the attitude. "The hat was his best asset."

Lucent "With that, I will concur. I found it hard to stand Wei Dan in the first place."

Varanim stares at Lucent with mild horrified fascination. "Is your special power to locate and repel the point in a conversation? I almost had her on track before you arrived."

Varanim "And," she adds to Zahara, "it's not that I wish my shard didn't have a history, it's that I don't CARE. There's a difference."

Lucent "It took five centuries of training." he nods.

zahara "Aye, well. You can simply just be your own charming self, and I'm sure they'll run away soon enough."

Varanim sighs. "Maybe. It'll be a pity about the sex, though. Which, by the way, is entirely metaphorical, since I am not like certain Essence-infused himbos I could name."

Lucent "Varanim, you do not get to CHOOSE not to care. Think about it this way. You are handed a teaching job because you have similar personality, skill, and calling to the teacher that was there before. And you want the students that were in love with your predecessors not to use all those traits to see her in yo..." He stops, "Yeah, right. I bet you have jumped half of Netheos."

zahara "Ah, she can choose not to care. It's just that the world around her will continue to pester her regardless."

Varanim "Actually, choosing not to care is pretty much exactly how it works. Trust me, it's a key skill of my job." Varanim spins another citrus fruit on the tip of one finger before spearing it with a soulsteel prong and commencing to peel. "Plus, even if I had made it with every plasmatic from here to the Black Crags, I would still not have Malfean cooties on me."

Varanim "So much pestering," Varanim says to Zahara with big sad eyes--she is trying to learn from Lucent, perhaps.

Lucent "Errr..." He points to the Soulsteel, while biting on the fruit, leaving that in the air before speaking, "You already do. But we are going to save you from it." He nods. "We will."

zahara "So much saving, so little time."

Varanim shoots a wary look at Zahara. "This 'saving' nonsense, does he slop that on everyone, or should I be shoring up for extra annoyance in the months ahead?"

zahara grins at Varanim. "We're Solars. It's what we do, right Luc?"

zahara "In fact, I saved Lucent once."

Varanim "Knock yourselves out, as long as you don't mess with my sleep, my booze, or my work. I mean, not like you have anything important to be doing with your time, right?"

Lucent "Yes! It was glorious. In fact, it is all the reason I am still around. And Cerin saved her."

Lucent smiles bright. "Is there anything more important than helping your Malfean-tainted friends?"

Varanim shoots Lucent a look of disgust. "These conversations are never going to make any sense, kid, until you start paying attention to what I actually do and not the script written by the demons in your head."

Varanim Then she pushes herself up. "But please, do your important conferencing. It's wine o'clock."

Lucent "Varanim." He raises his hand, "I know you are helping us. But I have seen people like you helping us before, and, well, they happen to be the people we are fighting against now. So, just... sit down. Let us talk. I can stop talking about saving for five minutes if you will sit for this long?"

zahara "What was it that you came to speak to me about anyway?" She directs this to Lucent

Lucent "Oh! I was going to ask Varanim, too. We are going to the south to discover where The Eye That Devours The Sky comes from."

zahara "The what now?"

Varanim doesn't sit, but she slouches against the doorframe without leaving and listens.

Lucent "The thing I hope I killed, waking up here after my sacrifice. The enemy the deliberative were fighting on ancient times, an enemy we had no name for and no recognition. Here." He throws the scroll to Zahara. "The map of where it has devoured parts of the reconstructed South. I am, unfortunately, Essence-Blind. That is where you three come in."

Varanim Looking slightly interested in spite of herself, Varanim says, "Hm, I do need to poke around in the South a bit."

Lucent "So do I. It was to be one of my greatest heroic acts, I would hope for it to be so null." He points at Varanim, "Come on, Twilight, something completely new. Undiscovered. Maybe even more soulsteel! We know how you much you love soulsteel."

Varanim "Sure, I've been thinking of getting more parts replaced," she rolls her eyes at Lucent. "Fine."

Lucent "Good!" He gets up, walking to her and the door, "Now tell us, who's this sex-friend from your past life? A demon? They always remember so much!"

Varanim "...Annnnd at wine oh five, this is Varanim, clocking out."

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