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Neshi waits behind as everyone but Lucent files out of the room, and smiles behind her veil.

Lucent "How did you like it, my queen?" He asked with a smile as his Empress left, "The taste of her conflicting emotions? Of the need, of the desire? Of my care for her, the desire to protect that would go to hell and back to keep her safe? How did you love it, old friend?" He finished his questions as he finally took his seat.

Lucent Adagio's Violent Orchestra had reverted to Lucent's Incarnae Orbs.

Neshi "I was deeply entertained," she says, and brings one finger up to her mouth to lick, ever so quickly. "But you did not come here for my entertainment," she says, and looks at Luc knowingly.

Lucent "No, but a good visitor brings gifts to his host, especially one as incredible as you." He gives a solemn nod, holding that smile in his eyes for a moment, "But that gift is also important. It shows how much you need us. How much you love us. Have you ventured into the shaped world lately, dear Neshi?"

Neshi "No," she says, curtly. "I have no need for the shaped world. Our reputation is wide, and those who journey here to us bring all that I could ever need," she says, looking at the glassy-eyed humans briefly with a devilish look. "There is no call for me to subject myself to such cruel shape."

Lucent "Indeed, shape might limit a being as beautiful as you." He waves down the image of her form in the air. "But you have been missing much. The long-awaited springtime of Creation is here, with a myriad different beings that defy thought. Exalted that Creation has not seen for untold millennia have returned. Taste, Neshi."

Lucent He is up, then a movement so quick, close to her. "Tales of beings of great power. The shattering of kingdoms and old orders. Loves spanning millennia returned to suffering. And the power of so many different beings, each with a different feel, a different TASTE. You felt it from us, even from afar. We are Exalted. Our power comes from our emotions, our will. We are it."

Lucent "Imagine what you just felt. Imagine a thousand others."

Neshi "Why go to the shaped lands to experience that, when we can hear of it on the winds here?" She runs her fingers down Lucent's arm. "Why limit ourselves with shape so that those of you who rise above your brethren might destroy us? No, it is far better to rule here," she says, and her eyes flash crimson -- Luc remembers that she has spoken, more than once, of reviving the Crusade to destroy Creation altogether.

Lucent "Because you need this. You love us too much. What you can draw from us, our tales, our emotions. You need to be close, Neshi." He looked deep into her eyes, not breaking, "Pehaps someday the Crusade will come. But it will be after you have seen all of Creation, felt it. Otherwise, it will be a story untold. A spring cut short. No. You WILL wait until the summer. Otherwise, you would never hear. Never feel. All the new flowers."

Neshi nods. "There are many things under the Sun of which I know but little," she says. "And the world is ripe for the picking, for those who might wish to wield great stories as one might a rapier, to impress -- or impale -- one's enemies." She has wandered back over to her "children," and she strokes one's hair absentmindedly. "But the risk of your foolishly dangerous world is still great."

Lucent "Yes. And that danger makes your blood boil. Gives you stories and power. It cannot end, not so soon, can it? Not before you have seen it all..." He was so close, now, and he says it in whisper, "But nothingnes is greater and greater within it, brought by the Lacuna, broken by the Heralds. If they are not stopped, it will go out, before you can see, before you can hear."

Lucent "But you know, do you not? Who is He, who will destroy Creation before you can taste it?"

Neshi "Someone from far, far away," she says. "Those that he has sent are as poison to my kind as they are to yours; we give them a wide berth."

Lucent "He is a poison to you as well? How so?" He takes one step out of her personal space, "We know He is from far away, Neshi. And I know you know more than that. We can stop Him, and it will be a great tale. But we need more to go on."

Neshi "You know that my memory fades," she says. "I am not a creature of Ua alone any longer." (...)

Neshi "The first one came, and it was many ages ago; it came from beyond the depths, where even those like myself may no longer go, as long as we are wedded to this accursed rock of shape. When it passed, everything would twist and churn in its wake." (...)

Neshi "What we thought a natural state was nothing in the face of the chaos brought by this herald. Where one of us might think to change his name, or his face, he would find himself unsure if he were one being, or ten thousand; if he had been born, or only died." (...)

Neshi "I know, perhaps, which direction he came from, but without the knowledge of our world the word would be meaningless to you, and besides: the second came from elsewhere altogether." She sighs. (...)

Neshi "Perhaps the best I could ever do is warn you in advance, should another arrive, that at least it not destroy your jewel and then turn back to sate itself on our kind once again."

Lucent The Coronal had formed panels around them, making every word whispered and private, and they finally open. "I would like that, my queen." He bows. "If you could also have arranged a chart with the directions from whence they came, as well?"

Lucent "I cannot read it, but I know those who might."

Neshi "I will do so," she says, rather more quietly than she usually is.

Lucent "Excellent!" He plops himself down on a cushioned seat that may or may not have been there before. "Now to brighter business, I have a proposal for your court, one that may give you more stories, more flavors of Creation!"

Neshi seats herself on her mound of pillows once again, between two of her mortal children. "I'm... listening," she says.

Lucent "Not too far from here once lay a great city, the beating heart of the South - Gem. Where Ata'la rose where countless, boundless veils of minerals and gems of all type and color. It is a... sacred area, and although I have sent on their souls, it still stands as a grave."

Lucent "I want to propose that you send your subordinates, your greatest craftsmen to where it stood, to rebulild Gem as a wonder to last the ages! Men will come to this city, seeking the gems and riches, and in this city, Man and Raksha can stand side-by-side, and work with each other."

Lucent "The Exalted will come for its minerals, and so you will hear their tales, the people may willing give their feelings to some of you. And more importantly... it will be due to a deal with the Deliberative, so when zealous Exalts seek to cleanse your kind from the South... it will be protected."

Lucent "Well." He leans in, eyes knowingly, "As long as you behave"

Neshi pushes Luc away quite firmly, enough to make him stumble, and he feels the bite of her vicious claws as she does so -- just a little. "There is no 'should' for the raksha, as you well know. We do only what we will." She looks at the suddenly slightly further away Luc, though once again her veil hides whether she does so with malice or intrigue. "I will consider what you say."

Lucent stumbles away, stopped by Venus and Mars "And then we come into my third request... in which, unfortunately, I come to you as a beggar in, as it does not pay for itself." He shrugs dramatically. "How was it that my once-not-fiancee put it? Oh, yes. There is a great war coming, my dear queen."

Lucent "And I need eight hundred swords."

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